Author(s): Antonio Arenas Amado; A. Allen Bradley; Ibrahim Demir; Witold F. Krajewski; Nicholas W. Thomas; Marian Muste; Marcela S. Politano; Larry J. Weber; Breanna R. Shea; Chad W. Ke; Tony J. Loeser
Keywords: Flooding; Flood management; Nutrient management; Integrated water resources management
Abstract: After more than a century of intensive changes in the state's agricultural watersheds, repeated record floods motivated Iowa to innovate in its flood recovery and disaster mitigation efforts following the 2008 floods. The state created the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) and authorized the creation of Watershed Management Authorities. With enhanced funding from the federal government for disaster recovery, the groups collaborated in four watersheds as part of the Iowa Watersheds Project. The Watershed Management Authorities brought together governmental organizations and local stakeholders, developed watershed plans, defined potential flood and nutrient reduction projects, identified willing landowners for project locations in one subwatershed, and hired consultants to design and build the projects. The IFC coordinated efforts across the four watershed areas, provided hydrologic assessments for each, carried out monitoring and modelling to evaluate the performance of all the constructed projects, and developed water resources information systems to support ongoing activities. The Iowa Watersheds Project adopted a watershed systems approach, and the resulting synergy between engaged communities and technical professionals demonstrates avenues for implementing elements of an Integrated Water Resources Management framework in a highly decentralized setting.