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Association of State Flood Plain Managers

Association of State Flood Plain Managers Association of State Flood Plain Managers
Association of State Flood Plain Managers
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Iowa Bridge Sensor Project wins ASFPM's 2019 Tom Lee State Award for Excellence
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Dr. Ibrahim Demir with the Iowa Flood Center and last years Outreach Award winner accepted the award on behalf of the Iowa Bridge Sensor Project. Hes standing with ASFPMs Past Chair Maria Cox Lamm and Executive Director Chad Berginnis.

The Tom Lee State Award for Excellence is given annually to recognize an outstanding floodplain management program or activity at the state level.

After extensive flooding across Iowa in 2008, the Iowa Flood Center developed and maintains a statewide network of stream stage sensors designed to measure stream height and automatically transmit data to the IFC. These sensors, which are installed on bridges, measure stage only. And while they dont match the quality of the USGS gauges, they come in at a fraction of the cost. Iowa has already installed hundreds of them through the Iowa Bridge Sensor Project.

A recent USACE Silver Jackets pilot project developed a protocol for creating stage-discharge rating curves for several bridge sensors. The hope is that that enhancing information provided by the sensors will increase their use for flood warning and forecasting purposes. The sensors fill a gap where USGS gauges don't exist and provide a valuable flood warning tool. The average bridge sensor costs $3,500 to deploy, $2,500 for cross section by USACE, $1,000 for HEC-RAS model development and application of a rating curve at $1,500 for a total combined cost of $8,500. The bridge sensors are water and weatherproof and have shown little need for maintenance. What's great is that IFC has made available a website with all of the sensors so citizens can check them whenever they wish. The Iowa Bridge Sensor Project, with support from Iowa DNR, IDOT and research projects at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, is a perfect example of recognizing a need for the state, and coming up with an affordable solution that will increase the safety of all their residents during potential flood conditions!




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