Rep. Dave Loebsack and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials were on the Cedar River last week to talk about protecting Cedar Rapids and other flood-prone cities against another flood.
Both the Congressman and the Corps said flood-protection systems and watershed management were both necessary ingredients in flood protection.
As proof of the need for watershed management, Sen. Tom Harkin on Tuesday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was sending $24.236 million to Iowa to fund 42 floodplain easement projects.
Harkin’s office said the money will be used to purchase easements from landowners along floodplains to allow land most prone to flooding to be restored to a natural state.
By taking easement land out of farm production, the Emergency Watershed Protection Program will allow flood waters to spread out and slow down, helping to reduce flooding on private property elsewhere in the watershed, Harkin’s office said.
“As we approach the one-year anniversary of the flooding that devastated Iowa, these funds will continue the process of rebuilding our state and will help prevent future flooding,” Harkin said in a news release.
The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will acquire the property, which can both be private land or certain public land. Landowners will retain several rights to the property, including the right to control public access.