Magazine article Public Management

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY AWARD: This Award Recognizes Innovative Local Government Programs or Processes That Creatively Balance a Community's Social, Economic, Environmental, and Cultural Needs

Magazine article Public Management

COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY AWARD: This Award Recognizes Innovative Local Government Programs or Processes That Creatively Balance a Community's Social, Economic, Environmental, and Cultural Needs

Article excerpt

Populations of 50.000 and greater

Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project | Dubuque, Iowa

Michael C. Van Milligen, City Manager

Challenge: To find a solution for frequent flash flooding in the Bee Branch Watershed that also supports the watershed's overall health, water quality, neighborhood preservation, and community development.

Backstory: More than half of Dubuque's residents either live or work in the Bee Branch Watershed, an area of historic neighborhoods that have a mix of affordable housing, small businesses, and schools. A 2009 FEMA study found that 1,373 homes and businesses, including 70 businesses that employ more than 1,400 people and account for $500 million in annual sales, are prone to storm water flooding.

The Bee Branch Creek had been buried in a storm sewer in the early 1900s. As Dubuque grew, major rainstorms regularly overwhelmed the sewer's capacity. Between 1999 and 2011, the area was declared a federal disaster area six times and logged an estimated $69.8 million in damages. As a result, while commercial property values rose 39 percent citywide between 2004 and 2009, they fell six percent in the watershed.

Solution: The Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project (BBWFMP), a green infrastructure investment to mitigate flooding, improve water quality, stimulate development, and enhance quality of life.

Program Implementation: The project catalyzes community economic, social, and environmental capital to create resilient neighborhoods, foster economic opportunities, and balance resources. …

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