Iowa leaders hope to learn from North Dakota flood - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa leaders hope to learn from North Dakota flood

Soldiers set-up Hesco barriers in Fargo to hold back flood waters. Soldiers set-up Hesco barriers in Fargo to hold back flood waters.

by Bryan Goettel

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Eastern Iowans are closely following flooding in North Dakota.

Cities here could learn from and implement the flood recovery and protection systems in place there.

Sandbagging efforts continue in Fargo, North Dakota. The Red River there rose five feet in one day. Forecasters say it could reach a record 40-foot crest on Saturday -- 22-feet above flood stage.

But there is extra help. Fargo and Grand Forks both implemented nw flood protections after the Red River inundated those cities in 1997.

Unfortunately there's no substitute for experience. Iowa learned more than it ever wanted to about flood protection last summer.

And the search continues for ways to make it even better.

Right now that search is focused squarely on North Dakota.

It might be hundreds of miles away. And the rivers actually flow to the north. But city officials around Eastern Iowa are still keeping a close eye on the current flooding situation in North Dakota.

"We watch with great interest when Grand Forks and Fargo and areas like that continue to flood," said Johnson County Emergency Coordinator Dave Wilson.

Wilson's watching, hoping to learn from any emergencies or unexpected events faced along the Red River over the next few days.

"We do try to look to other places for lessons learned and see what they've done in the past or what they're doing now and bring those ideas home to roost," said Wilson.

In turn, North Dakota is learning from past floods in places like Iowa City.

Hesco barriers are used by the military for protection in Iraq and Afghanistan -- but they can also combat flooding.

Wilson had some delivered to Iowa City just days before the Iowa River's crest last June. They were critical in protecting the university's water plant.

"I can tell you in the future all of our critical infrastructure we'll look to use the Hesco barrier on," said Wilson.

And while he says Iowa City is better prepared than ever for another flood, his ears are always open.

"We're always looking to learn new and better techniques," said Wilson.

Cedar Rapids city council member Brian Fagan says they are also closely following the Red River flood.

New temporary flood protection devices have started to arrive.

More -- including hesco barriers -- are on the way.

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