Republicans in the Iowa Legislature have drafted a state education budget which eliminates the $1.5 million in state funding that supports the Iowa Flood Center. Iowa Flood Center representatives say the proposed budget would effectively put them out of business.
Iowa Flood Center Director Larry J. Weber tells decorahnews.com the budget also would jeopardize the $97 million grant Iowa received from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department to continue to implement projects in nine Iowa watersheds, including the Upper Iowa River Watershed.
Weber says the watershed projects are aimed at reducing rain runoff and reducing the chances of flooding in the watershed. He points to last year's flooding in Winneshiek County in August and September and laments, "how quickly we forget."
The budget cuts would also result in the end of the Iowa Flood Information System, a network of more than 250 real-time river and stream gauge sensors, more than 50 soil moisture/temperature sensors, flood inundation maps for 22 Iowa communities and rainfall products for the entire state. Weber calls IFIS "a powerful on-line tool which supports flood alerts and flood forecasts."
Weber is encouraging people to communicate with their state legislators about the value of the state's investment in flood prevention and resiliency work. He adds, "This proposed cut will have a devastating impact on the Flood Center's ability to continue to provide flood mitigation and real-time flood support to communities, businesses, emergency managers, public works professionals and citizens that have come to depend on the Center's efforts."