Flooding plans discussed at City Council workshop

Emelie Knobloch

The City of Ames staff presented a flood plan regulation presentation to City Council on Feb. 18.

The goal of the previous city council was to decrease flooding as much as possible in the Ames community.

“Workshops are held to take an in-depth look at issues the council will, if need be, make decisions on at some point in the future,” said Susan Gwiasda, public relations officer.

This goal was broken into two focuses: reducing possible damage caused by river and watershed flooding, and localized flooding.

“The workshops can be used to provide the council with background information or potential issues,” Gwiasda said.

An approach to decreasing the damage of flooding includes improving transportation options usually impacted by flooding.

“By using the DNR map as our example, we made sure we were following federal regulation,” said Charlie Kuester, flood plan regulations planner.

Kuester said that sandbags and dropping boards into slots to prevent flooding need to be a passive system.

Two options for this were given by city staff: the restoration of the Squaw Creek channel 2,000 feet upstream and downstream from the South Duff Avenue bridge and lengthening the U.S. 30 bridge.

Kuester said that with the improvements to creeks in the Campustown area, Campustown would mainly be out of the flood plan.

“Council adopted a plan to work on physical improvements in the flood plan and to have a workshop to learn about possible flood regulation change,” said Bob Kindred, Ames assistant city manager. “The workshop is why we are here.”

The restoration of the bridge is currently in the Capital Improvements Plan to be under construction from 2015-2017. The lengthening of the bridge is not in the CIP.

“We did a quick summary of what other cities do in Iowa,” Kuester said. “Cedar Rapids does the bare minimum, and Cedar Falls is not building anything new.“

The main regulation options were made into four categories: restricting new development, enforcing additional performance standards for new development, making low elevated structures higher and revising regulation maps.

“I am not sure we will solve any of these things. This is a workshop; we look over things and come back later,” said Ames Mayor Ann Campbell.

A few potential future steps to reduce localized flooding include building larger storm sewers that could cause further stream erosion and enhance and expand existing storm water management facilities.

“We have been having this conversation for years,” said Councilman Matthew Goodman. “People have come to us very upset because they just bought a new home and there is water in their basement.”