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Environment

Iowa DNR Will Hold Virtual Meetings On Problems, Solutions For Flooding

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Katie Peikes / IPR

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will hold three virtual meetings later this month with people who live and work along the Missouri River to address flooding in the region.

The goal is to identify areas prone to flooding, places along the river that cause flooding, and potential solutions.

According to a news release, the study “will use existing data and hydraulic models” and input from people to “to define existing conditions and develop conceptual-level solutions for identified problem areas, and to develop a flood risk management plan.”

Last year’s near-historic runoff that entered the Upper Missouri River Basin combined with unusually high runoff in the Platte River caused the lower Missouri River to sit above flood stage for nearly nine months in some places. Tim Hall, the hydrology resources coordinator for the Iowa DNR, said the agency already knows of some problem areas, like where the Platte River enters the Missouri. Here, the river pinches down.

“And all the water in the river is forced through a narrower spot, which tends to, in high flow events, back the water up upstream from that narrow point, from that pinch point,” Hall said.

Hall said the Iowa DNR wants to hear from residents about more areas like this where they think the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to prioritize. He added that places that flood will continue to flood next time the river rises. Once federal funding becomes available to make improvements, the Corps of Engineers needs to know what’s important to the people who live and work near the river, so they can prioritize areas, he said.

“It’s just critical to know where the stakeholders, where the people on the river think that the biggest problems lie so that we can tackle [them] in order,” Hall said. “The Corps is never going to get money to fix all the issues on the river all at the same time.”

The study is a partnership between departments of natural resources in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri, the Kansas Water Office and the Corps of Engineers’ Kansas City and Omaha districts.

Iowa’s meetings are July 28-30 over Zoom. Hall said the DNR hopes to have in-person meetings in August. After these meetings across the four states, each will have a list of priorities that they’ll give to the Corps to consider.