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$97 million goes towards flood resilience across Iowa

800 new farm ponds, wetlands, reconnected flood plains, and water and sediment control basins were added to the state’s landscape over the past 5 years. It’s part of a $97 million initiative from the University of Iowa.

Located all throughout rural Iowa, they will help prevent flooding and serve citizens everywhere.

“These are practices that as the rainfall comes off of the land, it’s held in that pond or in that wetland for a longer period of time and will be released more slowly downstream,” said Iowa Flood Center Co-Founder Larry Weber.

Tuesday, he helped lead a tour of the new structures.

He says the funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but the land owners will be responsible for some upkeep.

“They signed a maintenance agreement to take care of the practice,” said Weber. “So that agreement will go for 20 or 30 years and will go toward that practice and they will be responsible in making sure that it serves the purpose it was intended to provide.”

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs, Kevin Bush from HUD, was also there to see the state’s efforts. He says this initiative is something that should be a model for the rest of the country.

“It showcases how urban and rural communities can work together to increase our resilience to natural disasters which, as we know, are happening more recently,” said Bush.

He adds that a large part of the Iowa Watershed Approach’s success comes from rural and urban communities working together.

“These are strategies they are deploying in farmland that are improving the environmental health in those communities but also critically decreasing the flood risk in urban communities downstream.”


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