US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District

Wapsipinicon River Basin

The Wapsipinicon River originates in southeastern Minnesota and flows about 225 miles to the mouth at the Mississippi River. The Wapsipinicon River Basin is a long narrow basin with a total drainage area of 2,540 square miles. The topography of the basin changes from relatively flat in the upper part of the basin, to gently rolling in the lower part. Land use in the basin is primarily agricultural. At this time, there are two Wapsipinicon River bridge sensors with rating curves displayed at Olin and Oxford Junction at the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS) website http://ifis.iowafloodcenter.org/ifis/sc/plus/.

The scarcity of rainfall and river level data in the Upper Wapsipinicon River upstream of Independence, Iowa presents an ideal opportunity for inter-agency resource leveraging. Installing automated weather stations and bridge sensors upstream of Independence (on the main stem and contributing tributaries) assists in flash flood and river forecasting. The pilot project leverages the methodology developed in the previous Flood Plain Management Services, Silver Jackets Bridge Sensor Rating Curve pilot project for selected locations in the Upper Wapsipinicon River watershed within Buchanan County, Iowa. Pilot study tasks include:
a) Collaboration and coordination with the community and county Emergency Management Agency (EMA), National Weather Service (NWS), Iowa Flood Center (IFC), Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE);
b) USACE channel cross-section survey and development of a hydraulic model for the study reach;
c) NWS/IFC/USACE bridge sensor site selection and rating curve development for IFIS website; and
d) USACE/IFC overbank inundation mapping development for flood elevations at one foot increments to be posted to the IFIS website

Collaborative Investment Opportunity
The on-line availability of this data, where no other data is available, allows flood response teams to use their limited time and resources in a more efficient and effective manner rather than engaging in repetitive, time-consuming field reconnaissance in anticipation of an impending high water flood event. Community resiliency is enhanced by the installation of the affordable bridge sensor technology flood response tool. The installation of five bridge sensors within a seven county area benefits the entire Upper Wapsipinicon River Basin watershed. Bridge sensors are currently available on Crane Creek near Dunkerton, Iowa and Otter Creek at Otterville, Iowa. Rating curves for these two sites will be added in the near future.
 
Collaborative Solution meets Iowa State Hazard Mitigation Plan Expressed Needs
a) Encourage intergovernmental cooperation, coordination, and communication to mitigate against all hazards;
b) Build support capacity and commitment to prevent or reduce risks from all hazards for protection of Iowa’s residents and their property;
c) Mitigation Measure: Establish procedures, installation, networks, response teams and equipment necessary to issue warnings, alert officials and emergency personnel and inform the public to ensure that they are in place and operational