The University of Iowa

Transportation and Watershed Resilience Story Map

Students interviewing transportation officials in front of yellow school bus
Academic Year 
2021-2022
College/Department 
Planning & Public Affairs

Urban and Regional Planning students in the School of Planning and Public Affairs developed a Story Map to explore and better understand issues surrounding transportation and flooding in the Maquoketa River Watershed. 

This project takes the form of a Story Map. A story map compiles photographs, maps, audio, video, and text into a webpage to tell a story. 

As the Maquoketa River Watershed Management Authority (MRWMA), in collaboration with the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC), developed its first comprehensive watershed management plan from 2020 to 2022, transportation resiliency to flood events emerged as a topic worthy of closer examination. A group of graduate planning students from the University of Iowa School of Planning & Public Affairs sought to better understand the relationship between transportation planning and watershed planning, and the degree to which flooding impacts on transportation infrastructure, such as overtopping streets or closed bridges, disrupts social and economic activity. Essentially, they explored two questions: How can watershed management improve transportation resilience? How can transportation planning mitigate the impact of major flood events?

Significant research is needed to fully understand the intersection of transportation planning and watershed management in the Maquoketa River watershed- this project only scratches the surface of this broad and complex topic. The project was not designed to provide definitive research delineating clear linkages and impacts, but rather to create more awareness and understanding about the relationship between transportation planning and watershed planning, and to initiate deeper discussions among residents and stakeholders. The Story MAp offers a glimpse of how flood impacts on transportation infrastructure impacts daily life through two main stories: flooding impacts on Highway 13 in Manchester, Iowa and flooding impacts and response for West Delaware County School Transportation.