Construction Going Strong On East Fork Flood Control Structures
Contractors are continuing to make progress in completing 18 new flood control structures in the East Fork of the Grand River Watershed. The new structures are being constructed with funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
East Fork of the Grand River Watershed covers 168,400 acres in Ringgold and Union Counties in southern Iowa and Harrison and Worth Counties in Missouri. More than $1 million in federal funding is covering the cost to construct the 18 new watershed structures.
Seven of the 18 structures are completed or nearly completed, three are under construction, and construction is not yet underway on eight structures.
The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is using Recovery Act dollars to update flood control structures, protect and maintain water supplies, improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, and restore wetlands.
According to Jeff Zimprich, Iowa NRCS assistant state conservation for field operations, the new structures will provide 177 acres of aquatic habitat, and hold back 800 acre feet of flood water, or about 261 million gallons of water. "These structures could mean the difference in the river going out of its banks," he said.
Zimprich says the floodwater held back by these structures is equal to the water in 522 full water towers.
The new structures will also help to improve county roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, as well as create jobs for the local community. "These structures allow some expensive road infrastructure to be replaced with less expensive ones," said Zimprich, "such as replacing a bridge with a culvert."
The new structures are also helping farm operations. For example, farmer Ron Creveling will pump water out of his new structure to provide drinking water for livestock. Creveling's new structure will include an approximate 9-acre pool area.
Once completed, the East Fork of the Grand River Watershed Project will result in an average annual benefit of $3.8 million from flood prevention, reduced soil erosion, rural water supply and fire protection, as well as recreational value.
Contact: Jason Johnson, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA-NRCS