Link to Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management's Twitter feedLink to Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management's Facebook pageLink to Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management's BlogLink to the Ready Iowa website Podcasts pageLink to the HSEMD YouTube channel

Iowa Watershed ApproachIowa Watershed approach logo


The Iowa Watershed Approach was created in 2016 when the State of Iowa was awarded a $96.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of the National Disaster Resilience Competition. The grant allows program partners to assist Iowa communities in their recovery from prior disasters as well as their ability to recover more quickly from future disasters.


Nine distinct watersheds across Iowa serve as project sites for the IWA: Bee Branch Creek in Dubuque, Upper Iowa River, Upper Wapsipinicon River, Middle Cedar River, Clear Creek, English River, North Raccoon River, West Nishnabotna River, and East Nishnabotna River.


Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management staff enhance IWA efforts through technical assistance and planning. Comprehensive emergency management planning ensures that emergency services, local authorities, and other organizations communicate their efforts effectively toward hazard mitigation and disaster recovery for a more resilient Iowa.


HSEMD delivers several publications and technical products as part of the Iowa Watershed Approach including:

  • Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery datasets that communicate potential flood risk to infrastructure, housing, and critical facilities. Through the IWA partnership additional information will be provided addressing issues related to vulnerable populations.
  • Eight Watershed-based loss avoidance studies that examine the benefits of structural and non-structural practices as they are implemented in the project’s most impacted and distressed areas.
  • A resilient strategies report with recommendations for the sustainability of the IWA approach. As a state we are committed to supporting a model for urban and rural flood resilience.

Grant Award: Click here for additional details


Application Process and Award

The State of Iowa submitted its Phase 1 application to HUD in March 2015 and its Phase 2 application in October 2015.


On Jan. 21, 2016, HUD announced the awards for the National Disaster Resilience Competition. The State of Iowa received $96.9 million - almost 10 percent of the total amount awarded nationwide and the fourth largest award. Thirteen states and cities were awarded funding. The project in Iowa has been dubbed the "Iowa Watershed Approach."


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation (Rockefeller), is providing significant resources and support to communities to help them become more resilient. The National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) is a two-phase process that has competitively awarded nearly $1 billion in HUD Disaster Recovery funds to eligible communities. The awards will help communities recover from prior disasters and improve their ability to withstand and recover more quickly from future disasters, hazards, and shocks. All states with counties that experienced a Presidentially-declared major disaster in 2011, 2012, or 2013 were eligible to apply. This included 48 of 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. Seventeen local governments were also eligible because they had qualifying funding.




Contact Jessica Turba if you have any questions about HSEMD's role in the Iowa Watershed Approach.


Visit the Iowa Watershed Approach website.