Focus on Ways to Prevent Future Flooding

"Learning from the Floods of 2008" is theme of a Dec. 8 workshop at Ames on potential ways to mitigate future flooding.

In the aftermath of Iowa's devastating summer floods, there were a multitude of questions about why this catastrophe occurred and what could be done to help prevent a recurrence. "Learning from the Floods of 2008: Practical Strategies for Resilience," a workshop on the potential ways to mitigate future flooding, will be held December 8 at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames.

The one-day workshop offers insights from experts in agriculture, water and land use, urban planning and government, and representatives from state and federal agencies. The audience members will be encouraged to provide their ideas on what we already know that could help and what things we need to research to lessen the impact of similar disasters. Sponsors for the event are the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa.

Workshop attendees will learn about:
• Flood 2008 realities: What really happened and why, featuring Mary Skopec, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; William Vogel, Federal Coordinating Officer, FEMA; Richard Sims, NRCS State Conservationist; and William Simpkins, ISU geological and atmospheric sciences.
• Farming systems: How can we protect our agricultural resources, featuring Francis Thicke and Rick Juchems, Iowa farmers; and Richard Cruse, ISU agronomist.
• Urban systems: How can we safeguard our cities and towns situated on waterways, featuring Wayne Petersen, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship; Regenia Bailey, Mayor, and Jeff Davidson, Director of Planning and Community Development, Iowa City.
• River systems: Reshaping our relationships with the state's rivers and how we can reduce damage and improve water quality, featuring Keith Schilling, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Geological and Water Survey; Mark Ackelson, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation; Tom Isenhart, ISU ecology and natural resources; and Susan Heathcote, Iowa Environmental Council.

Jerry DeWitt, director of the Leopold Center, talks about why the workshop is necessary. "In the aftermath of the flooding, many ideas have emerged on how to respond appropriately and effectively," he says. "We wanted to take a look at the major systems affected by the flooding, discuss the practical actions we can take now, and consider ways to devise future systems-based solutions."

There is no charge for workshop registration. However, seating is limited and registrations must be received by Monday, December 1. For more information and to register visit The site includes readings related to the floods to view prior to the conference at

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