A Watershed Year: Anatomy of the Iowa Floods of 2008

Cornelia F. Mutel, Editor
Cornelia F. Mutel, Editor University of Iowa Press $19 (250p) ISBN 978-1-58729-854-7
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Though a major problem for people, flooding ""is as natural as the rising of the sun-and no more easily prevented."" In the floods of June 2008, 85 of Iowa's 99 counties were declared federal disaster areas, in some areas for weeks, damaging homes, businesses, a university campus, and farmlands. While the implications for society were devastating, scientists took the opportunity to amass as much data as possible. With 30 contributors, most of them Iowans, representing fields such as hydrology, civil and agricultural engineering, economics, public policy, and architecture, this volume presents a thorough portrait not just of one season's floods, but an up-to-date survey of the phenomenon itself, and how it relates to human life and enterprise. Considering all the advantages of living near rivers-including not just water, but fertile soil, transportation, and power-it seems to have long ago been decided that the benefits outweigh the costs: ""Our task then is to learn to live with floods, maximizing their benefits wherever possible and minimizing the destruction of human constructs."" From flood prediction to flood avoidance, improved agricultural methods, the benefits of flooding, and beyond, this collection will be of certain interest an audience including ecologists, local government officials, and concerned riverside dwellers. Color and b&w photos, maps, and charts.
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