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USGS Crews Measure Flooding in Northeast Iowa

September 23, 2016

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring flooding on the Cedar River and Shell Rock River in Northeast Iowa. High-flow measurements on these rivers are approaching levels observed in 2008. 


USGS scientists are collecting critical streamflow data that are vital for protection of life, property and the environment. These data are used by the National Weather Service to develop flood forecasts, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to manage flood control, and the various state and local agencies in their flood response activities. More information is available on the USGS Iowa Water Science Center website.


"We know how important the USGS streamgages are to communities, not only for the real-time information, but for the forecasts issued by the National Weather Service,” said Jon Nania, Supervisory Hydrologist for the USGS Iowa Water Science Center. “Our crews have been working hard the last few days making streamflow measurements and installing extra equipment to be used as backup and to make sure streamflow data is available throughout this entire event.” 


The information the USGS collects today will not only help during this current flood, but will provide better information if these levels are seen again in the future, Nania explained.


There are nearly 200 USGS-operated streamgages in Iowa that measure water levels, streamflow and rainfall. USGS crews will be following the flood downstream making discharge measurements until the floodwaters recede.


For more than 125 years, the USGS has monitored flow in selected streams and rivers across the U.S. The information is routinely used for water supply and management, monitoring floods and droughts, bridge and road design, determination of flood risk and for many recreational activities.


Access current flood and high flow conditions across the country by visiting the USGS WaterWatch website. Receive instant, customized updates about water conditions in your area via text message or email by signing up for USGS WaterAlert.


USGS provides science for a changing world. Visit, and follow us on Twitter @USGS_IA and Facebook at USGS Science in Iowa


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