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The city of Decorah, Iowa, has experienced severe flooding from the Upper Iowa River resulting in property damage to homes and businesses. Streamflow data from two U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamflow-gaging stations, the Upper Iowa River at Decorah, Iowa (station number 05387500), located upstream from the College Drive bridge; and the Upper Iowa River near Decorah, Iowa (station number 05388000), at the Clay Hill Road bridge (locally known as the Freeport bridge) were used in the study. The three largest floods on the Upper Iowa River at Decorah occurred in 1941, 1961, and 1993, for which the estimated peak discharges were 27,200 cubic feet per second (ft3/s), 20,200 ft3/s, and 20,500 ft3/s, respectively. Flood-discharge information can be obtained from the World Wide Web at URL (uniform resource locator) http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/. In response to the need to provide the City of Decorah and other flood-plain managers with an assessment of the risks of flooding to properties and facilities along an 8.5-mile (mi) reach of the Upper Iowa River, the USGS, in cooperation with the City of Decorah, initiated a study to map 100- and 500-year flood-prone areas.
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Flood-Plain Study of the Upper Iowa River in the Vicinity of Decorah, Iowa