WASHINGTON — Congressman Dave Loebsack voted to secure $23,906,000 for Iowa in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill. This includes funds for the Cedar River Flood Protection Study, Upper Mississippi Restoration, Rathbun Lake, Mad Creek and many others.

“The floods of last summer showed us that we must make serious strides towards flood prevention and watershed management,” said Congressman Loebsack. “As we put together the Energy and Water bill, I worked to make sure that there were funds to maintain, repair, and construct flood prevention and management measures across Iowa. These funds will not only aid our efforts on flood prevention, but also enhance our water quality, recreation industries, and wildlife while saving and creating jobs and developing Iowa’s economy.”

Additionally, this bill contains the last block of funding necessary to complete the Cedar Rapids Flood Protection study. Congressman Loebsack has secured funding each year that he has been in office for the Cedar Rapids flood study, securing $98,000 in 2007, $287,000 in 2008, and $2.5 million from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Even before the floods, Iowans were working with the Army Corps of Engineers on flood reduction measures,” added Congressman Loebsack. “This has been a long process, and the funds that we secured today will provide the final push to complete the flood study. As we move forward, it is critical that we get this right, and make sure that our community receives a well-reasoned, well-executed plan with long term flood reduction measures as well as avenues to rebuild the city.”

The details of the projects funded are as follows:

• Cedar River Time Check Area, Corps of Engineers construction, $887,000. The floods of last summer ravaged the Second District. Investing in flood preparation and planning not only creates and saves jobs at a time when the economy is in crisis, but also protects our schools, homes, and small businesses for the future. The funding would be used for an ongoing study to develop structural and nonstructural flood damage reduction alternatives in coordination with the city. The scope of the initial study has expanded to include both sides of the Cedar River from the Time Check area to downstream.

• Upper Mississippi River restoration, Corps of Engineers construction, $20,000,000. The Upper Mississippi River Restoration project will allow for greater economic development opportunities for our river communities and improve water and environmental quality on the Mississippi River. The funding would support environmental management programs and Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Projects in addition to long-term environmental resource monitoring on the Upper Mississippi River.

• Operations and maintenance funds for Rathbun Lake, $3,019,000. This funding will help improve economic opportunities by providing funding for additional operation and maintenance of Rathbun Lake. Current operations and maintenance program funding is unable to keep pace with the needed maintenance and upgrades. These funds will be used to construct public facilities including a picnic shelter, restroom, hiking trails, hard-surfaced trails and other amenities.

• Chariton River and Rathbun Lake Watershed, Corps of Engineers, funded as available. This project has the potential to create jobs and bring funds into an area hit hard by the recent economic downturn. The funding would allow the creation of more than 200 small ponds and wetlands to filter sediment from runoff prior to entering Rathbun Lake. Project benefits include increased wildlife habitat in the watershed, and improved habitat and water quality at Rathbun Lake. The Rathbun Lake Watershed encompasses the Chariton River watershed in six counties in south central Iowa.

• Rathbun Lake Habitat Restoration Project, Corps of Engineers, funded as available. This funding will allow for greater economic development opportunities from shoreline restoration to protect fisheries, and wetland restoration to decrease sedimentation, improve water quality, and provide required habitat for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds and other wildlife at Rathbun Lake. Rathbun Lake also supplies water to the Rathbun Regional Water Association and the RRWA provides six million gallons of water daily to more than 70,000 people in 18 counties in southern Iowa and northern Missouri. The consequences of sediment runoff within the watershed include increased drinking water costs, the destruction of land and water habitat, decreased water quality and decreased water storage within Rathbun Lake.

Indian Creek, Corps of Engineers, funded as available. This project may lead to an investment in flood mitigation measures to protect our community from future flood risks. The funding would be used to support an ongoing study to evaluate structural and non-structural flood protection for the Indian Creek watershed in Cedar Rapids.

• Blackhawk Bottoms, Corps of Engineers, funded as available. The project includes completion of the feasibility phase, initiating, and fully funding construction of a pond on a former agricultural field, owned by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  The pond would allow the growth of plants to attract waterfowl during migration and other ecosystem formation. This funding will create a local recreation area, foster local economic opportunities, and save and create jobs in Des Moines County.

• Mad Creek, Corps of Engineers, funded as available. This funding will create jobs while investing in flood planning and mitigation. The funding would be used for completing design and fully funding construction to provide flood protection to the downtown and business area. Downtown Muscatine is frequently threatened by flooding from Mad Creek and the Mississippi River.

• Iowa River, Corps of Engineers, funded as available. These funds will help identify measures to minimize flood risks and preserve water quality. The funding would be used for completing reports to determine the need for additional projects to restore and enhance wetlands, buffer zones around streams or rivers, and stream habitat on the Clear Creek and Iowa River for the cities of Iowa City and Coralville, and the University of Iowa.

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