A Year After Disastrous Flash Flooding, City Makes Progress on Four Mile Creek Plan

DES MOINES, Iowa – There is still much work needed to be done one year after the Des Moines metro saw massive flash flooding but progress is being made in the Four Mile Creek neighborhood.

According to the city of Des Moines there were around 1,900 reports of homes that were impacted at damaged due to the major flash flooding overnight on June 30, 2018.

City of Des Moines Engineer Steven Naber said of those 1,900 reports there were around 375 homes that reported damage in the Four Mile Creek neighborhood.

“Since the June 2018 event, the city has spent about $10.6 million acquiring about 78 properties citywide. About 49 of those properties were right here in the Four Mile Creek watershed,” Naber said.

All 78 homes that were acquired by the city have since been removed.

Naber said there is a master plan that Polk County Conservation is helping redesign the area in the next coming years.

“The Four Mile Creek watershed master plan, as well as the lower four miles greenways plan, have determined that acquisition of properties in this area, in the flood plain, is the best solution to mitigate flooding and provide the safest alternative to residents,” Naber said.

Polk County Conservation Deputy Director Doug Romig said it could take five to seven years to transform the area into its natural habitat.

“We will be restoring it back to its natural state. We will have wetlands, woodlands and prairie restoration along with stream improvements and water access as part of the water trail program. It will become a natural greenway throughout this part of Des Moines,” Romig said.

Romig said there will never be properties on the land again, and it will be deemed a permanent greenway.

In the past year, the city of Des Moines has done some work to the stream near Sargent Park.

“We are doing stream bank stabilization. We have reduced the sloughing and sediment that is entering Four Mile Creek from flooding events. We are creating a normal channel and we are trying to slow down that water and capture it in different ways,” Romig said.

The city of Des Moines is currently in the process of creating a plan for the existing infrastructure that remains including the streets and utilities.

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