Flood Plain Management
Protecting life and property through informed decision-making

Flood Plain Development Regulations
Iowa Administrative Code contains several chapters that regulate development in Iowa's flood plains.  The regulations contain the minimum standards projects located in Iowa's flood plains must meet.  

Flood Plain Development Permits
LifesaverThe Iowa Department of Natural Resources regulates construction on all flood plains and floodways in the state to protect life and property; and to promote the orderly development and wise use of Iowa's flood plains.

Any person who desires to construct or maintain a structure, dam, obstruction, deposit or excavation, or allow the same in any flood plain or floodway must contact the Iowa DNR prior to the beginning of any work. The DNR will help determine if the proposed project needs an approved flood plain development permit.

Dam Safety
The Iowa DNR is responsible for the state's dam safety program. DNR staff review and approve the construction of new dams, maintain an inventory of existing dams that meet minimum size criteria and periodically inspect certain dams. Currently there are approximately 3,800 dams on the state's dam inventory.

Floodplain Mapping
The DNR, along with the Iowa Flood Center and other partners, is creating new, comprehensive, accurate floodplain maps for Iowa cities and counties. Starting in 2011, many Iowans will know if their property is at risk from flooding for the first time, as many Iowa communities have never had accurate floodplain maps.

National Flood Insurance Program
The DNR works with communities and counties to develop and administer local floodplain management programs, coordinates the National Flood Insurance Program, and assists the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Iowa Emergency Management Division in responding to flood disasters.

For Technical Assistance on any of these issues, please call (866) 849-0321.

Other Flood Plain Resources

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created a tool to help communities prepare for, deal with, and recover from floods. The Flood Resilience Checklist offers strategies that communities can consider to manage stormwater. 

The checklist is part of a the report, Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont: Smart Growth Approaches for Disaster-Resilient Communities.This report is a product of EPA’s year-long Smart Growth Implementation Assistance project in Vermont where EPA worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state agencies to help communities recover from Tropical Storm Irene. Although the project focused on Vermont, the policy options and checklist in the report can help any Iowa community seeking to become more flood resilient.