As Iowans have become all too aware, the effects of flooding have caused more damage in recent years than any other natural disaster. In fact, it now seems as if every summer, flooding is a major problem.
So far this year we have seen devastation to homes, businesses and farms from flooding along both the Mississippi River in the east and the Missouri River in the west. It is past time that Congress works to better prepare for future floods and ensure that the recovery is as quick and effective as possible.
In order to truly predict, prevent and prepare for future flooding, we have to take a holistic view of how key flood control infrastructure, including dams, reservoirs, levees and locks, work together.
This means working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers and local, state and other federal officials to ensure they have the necessary resources to properly manage and operate the flood control infrastructure in an evolving environment.
Iowans are fortunate that for the past 10 years, the Iowa Flood Center has provided important expertise and guidance by looking comprehensively at flooding across the state. However, there is no federal-level flood research effort that would allow us to address all of the factors that lead to flooding.
That is why I once again introduced legislation to establish a National Flood Center that will conduct research on flooding, flood prevention and other flood-related issues. The National Flood Center would be led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with experts at universities across the country to coordinate efforts between a wide-range of federal, state and local organizations and policy-makers.
By engaging with our nation’s best universities and the experience of our federal and state agencies, the National Flood Center will provide valuable research on the environmental, economic and social effects of flooding; analyze federal, state, regional and local flood-related policies; and develop and test new and improved tools, methods and models.
The work at the National Flood Center will lead to a wide variety of policies and practices to better predict, prepare, prevent and recover from future flooding.
As flooding continues across our nation, it is imperative that we address our nation’s flood management policies. Flood recovery remains one of my top priorities because Iowans have seen first-hand just how devastating floods are and how long a full recovery can take.
I will continue to work to advance our understanding of flooding, promote policies to help protect our families and communities from future flood damage and develop legislation that ensures a more speedy and thoughtful recovery process.