In August 2016, the Upper Iowa River Watershed experienced tremendous flooding with some areas receiving more than seven inches of rainfall in less than 24 hours.
Roads were inundated, schools were cancelled, and trapped victims were rescued by emergency personnel. Several communities in Winneshiek County had to be evacuated, displacing countless families.
The Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA) is working to build more resilient communities through improved flood mitigation strategies and support for at-risk residents leading to more successful preparation and recoveries from future floods.
The Upper Iowa River Watershed Management Authority (WMA) will hold its next quarterly meeting Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 4 p.m. at the Decorah City Council Chambers.
These meetings are open to the public; emergency managers, representatives of social and service organizations, city officials, soil and water conservation district staff, landowners, agricultural partners and community members are particularly encouraged to attend.
The Upper Iowa River Watershed is one of eight rural watersheds participating in the $96.9 million grant received by the state of Iowa from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Iowa Watershed Approach.
The IWA will address issues associated with the devastating and dangerous floods Iowa communities experience year after year, and help communities identify ways to increase resilience to future flooding.
The Flood Resilience Program, led by a University of Iowa team, is a subcomponent of the IWA. The program will partner with local organizations, including community action programs, to engage and support communities in flood resilience planning to:
• Identify flood resilience strengths, challenges, and priorities
• Develop actions or interventions that will help build resilience to floods
• Implement these actions or interventions
• Measure progress toward flood resiliency

The Flood Resilience team will introduce the flood resiliency program at the next Upper Iowa WMA quarterly meeting. This presentation will explore the concept of flood resilience and how local citizens can participate in defining flood resilience for their community. All are welcome to attend. Other IWA partners will also share updates on IWA activities.
The IWA is a collaboration of numerous agencies, universities, non-profits, and municipalities. Partners include: Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management, University of Iowa/Iowa Flood Center, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, City of Dubuque, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service, County Soil & Water Conservation Districts, The Nature Conservancy, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Agricultural Water Alliance, local Resource Conservation & Development offices, local Council of Governments offices, Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Association of Counties, Silver Jackets Flood Risk Management Team, and many more.
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