Devonian Fossil Gorge of Iowa

How I See It

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The Iowa River is one of several southeastern flowing rivers that drain the eastern half of Iowa to join the Mississippi River along the state’s eastern boundary. Record floods that swept the nation in the early 1930’s prompted Congress to establish the Flood Control Act of 1938. In an attempt to reduce flooding on the Mississippi River, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was authorized to construct several dams on tributary rivers, including the Iowa River. In addition to moderating flows on the Iowa River, Coralville Lake’s less evident, but equally important, role is part of the comprehensive flood control system for the Mississippi River. Construction of the dam started in 1949, but was delayed by the Korean Conflict.

The focus of this story is on the effects of two flooding episodes in 1993 and again in 2008. Both times water breeched the concrete spillway and revealed a layer of…

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