CEDAR RAPIDS — As Iowa’s senators touted federal taxpayer contributions of $117 million to the flood protection system in Cedar Rapids, a peaceful protest drew attention to the underlying cause of increased flooding.
Holding signs stating “Floodgates alone won’t protect us from climate change” among other messages, about 20 members of groups such as Indivisible Iowa and the Sunrise Movement stood alongside the groundbreaking ceremony for the 16th Avenue SE floodgate.
U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) were among speakers at the event, held under sunny skies, on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019.
The flood protection system has been gradually constructed along the Cedar River since flooding devastated Cedar Rapids in 2008.
Only U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA) made reference to addressing the underlying cause of flooding, which has continued to ravage parts of the state.
The 14-foot-tall, 67-foot-long flood gate, with an estimated $2.4 million cost, will be built beginning this fall. The gate, made of structural steel, will roll across the road and lock into place in about 30 minutes, protecting the east side of the river from rising waters.
It marks the first Cedar Rapids flood project funded through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.