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Flood of 2008

The City of Cedar Rapids is seeking local, state and federal financial support for a Flood Management System to protect residents and businesses on both sides of the Cedar River.

The City will not recover from the Flood of 2008 without a permanent system of floodwalls and levees. Cedar Rapids remains at risk for a similar disaster without this critical protection. The City Council and staff are pursuing a plan to secure $375 million dollars to build the system.

Flood Management System
The City's Flood Management System was developed through the participation of over 4,000 Cedar Rapids residents during a 10-month flood recovery planning process to determine a framework for reinvestment. Read more about the public participation process here.

The 7.5 mile system balances the priorities of the community to provide better protection, preserve neighborhoods and assets, and maximize open space by combining the following tactics:

  • Concrete floodwalls in areas where there are width restrictions, e.g. near Penford, Quaker Oats, Cargill, the north rail yards and other areas

  • Earthen levee sections in wider areas, e.g. on the former Sinclair site, in the Time Check Neighborhood area, under the amphitheater near the police station and other areas

  • Removable floodwalls in areas where a view of the river is advantageous for development

  • Wall openings for neighborhood connections

  • Levee greenway between flood control structures and Cedar River

Read detailed descriptions about East Side Flood Protection and West Side Flood Protection.  

Critical Need for Floodwalls on BOTH Sides of Cedar River

Environmental Justice - A commitment to environmental justice underlies the City's approach to rebuilding. The Flood of 2008 disproportionately affected already disadvantaged residents. The population in the flood-impacted area experienced...

    • Higher percentage of poverty, compared to rest of the city - 12% compared to 7%

    • Higher percentage of female-headed households, compared to rest of the city - 20% compared to 10%

    • High percentage of elderly residents, compared to rest of the city - 13%

    • Higher percentage of disabled residents, compared to rest of the city - 15% compared to 1%

    • Higher percentage of renters, compared to the rest of the city - 41% compared to 31%

Sustainability - Protecting the city core on both sides of the river will help reduce sprawl, will continue towards attracting a next-generation workforce and will improve community cohesion by using the river to join, rather than divide, the city.

Providing flood protection will not only reduce the likelihood of repeating significant environmental damage but will improve environmental quality by establishing systems to protect wildlife, water and air quality.

Endangered Cedar River

The Cedar River watershed is one of America's Most Endangered Rivers for 2010 because of its outdated flood management system, according to the American Rivers organization.

Flood Management System Plan & Costs




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