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Flood Plain Management Rules & Regulations

Chapter 70 – Scope of Title—Definitions—Forms—Rules of Practice

These rules are intended to implement Iowa Code Sections 17A.3, 455B.105, 459.102, and 481A.15 and Iowa Code chapter 455B, division III, part 4.  Definitions for flood plain management and dam safety terms are included in this chapter as well as the process for requesting approval of a flood plain development permit.  This chapter discusses procedures for review of applications and the administrative process for approving or denying a project.

Chapter 71 – Flood Plain or Floodway Development—When Approval is Required

These rules are intended to implement Iowa Code chapter 455B, division III, part 4; and Iowa Code sections 459.102, 459.301 and 481.15.  While Iowa Code 455B states that the Iowa DNR has authority over all flood plains in the state of Iowa, this chapter contains and clarifies the administrative thresholds for when approval from the Iowa DNR is obtained for work in the flood plain or floodway.  There are different administrative thresholds for different project types:  Bridges, culverts, temporary stream crossings, road embankments, channel changes, dams, levees, dikes, waster or water treatment facilities, sanitary landfills, buildings, fill pipeline crossings, stream bank protective devices, boat docks, excavations, and miscellaneous structures, obstructions or deposits.

Chapter 72 – Criteria for Approval

These rules are intended to implement Iowa Code sections 455B.261, 455B.262, 455B.263, 455B.264, 455B.275, 455B.277, 459.102 and 459.301.  This chapter contains the specific requirements that must be met for approval of a project or activity in a flood plain or floodway for the entire list of project types in 567-71.

Chapter 73 – Use, Maintenance, Removal, Inspections, and Safety of Dams

The rules in this chapter are intended to implement Iowa Code sections 109.15, 455B.275, 455B.277, 455B.264 and 17A.12.  This chapter covers approval procedures for dam operating plans, raising or lowering of impoundment levels, abandonment of dams, and removal of dams.  Also covered are the scope, purposes and procedures for a dam safety inspection program.


This chapter is currently unused.

Chapter 75 – Management of Specific Flood Plain Areas

These rules are intended to implement Iowa Code sections 455B.262, 455B.263, 455B.264, 455B.275 to 455B.279(2).  The Iowa DNR has jurisdiction over all flood plains and floodways in the state to promote the protection of life and property from floods and to promote the orderly development and wise use of the flood plains of the state.  This chapter discusses 3 different types of regulation including issuance of department flood plain management orders, approval of locally adopted flood plain management ordinances, and approval of development on a case-by-case basis.  Flooding characteristics, establishment of a floodway, minimum standards for flood plain and floodway uses and preexisting nonconforming development and associated uses are covered.  The process for the delegation of authority to local governments by approval of local regulations and the review and approval of variances from local regulations is covered.

Waivers from Administrative Rules
Rulemaking Actions

The Administrative Procedures Act, Iowa Code chapter 17A, requires all state agencies to promulgate rules for the operation of their programs. The rulemaking process increases agencies’ accountability to the public, allows public participation in the formulation of rules, and provides legislative oversight for program operations. 

Below are the recent rulemaking activities that are being considered, have been proposed, or are in the process of being adopted by the DNR for the chapters administered by the Flood Plain Management & Dam Safety section. Many of these proposals are a direct result of the comprehensive five year rule review required by 17A.7(2).


to Iowa Administrative Code 567-Chapters 70, 71, 72, and 73

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Thank you all for taking time last year to review our first formal public draft of the dam safety rule updates. Since our last posting of draft rules, we have incorporated feedback and further refined our proposed draft rules into the final package that will soon enter the formal rule making process. 

One of the primary changes since the last stakeholder document is the incorporation of water storage permits into the dam safety permit process.  This was previously two separate application processes that will now be incorporated into a single dam safety construction permit process.  The attached document also provides clear strikeout and insert language to clearly outline all proposed rule changes.  

We once again ask for your review and feedback as we continue the process of updating these rules.   Please provide comments on this draft by August 16th, 2019.   

Draft Dam Safety Rules

If you are involved in an organization, where your membership would be interested in these rules, please forward this email.  

Please send your comments to Jonathan Garton at jonathan.garton@dnr.iowa.gov.  If you have questions or would like to request a meeting to discuss the potential rule changes you may call me at 515-725-8360.  


There are no active rulemakings at this time.

There are no finalized rulemakings at this time.