To-do list: Bob Younie, head of maintenance for the Iowa Department of Transportation, outlined the kind of work that crews will need to do once water recedes from flooded roadways: Remove debris and muck, review the subgrade, look for voids and undermining from fast water, check pavement joints and paint, clear shoulders, inspect drainage system beneath the roadway, check guardrails, lights and pipes, inspect bridges and so on. "This all amounts to a lot of boots on the ground," he said.
Campground reopens: Lewis and Clark State Park campground in Onawa, Iowa, reopened this week, nearly two months after closing in advance of the Missouri River flooding. The park didn't flood, but electrical breakers and some other expensive utilities had been pulled out just in case, said Kevin Szcodronski, chief of state parks for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Campsites are available first come, first serve, and some immediately adjacent to Blue Lake are still closed because they still need to dry out.
Inch by inch: By Friday morning, the water level at the massive Fort Peck Reservoir had dropped enough — 2.4 inches — that officials could breathe a sigh of relief. That took the reservoir below the level that the Army Corps of Engineers calls "exclusive flood control." Three other reservoirs remain at that level, and once all six reservoirs drop below the flood-control-only zone, the corps will be able to more easily adjust releases from the dams in response to heavy rains.
Have animals, will travel: Flooding closed the Gifford Farm Education Center in Bellevue this summer, which means popular field trips were put on hold. However, the farm's not taking a break from educating school children. Even though the farm has been under 8 to 10 feet of water this summer, the animals were safely relocated. As a result, the farm is ready to bring some animals to local schools and facilities this fall. Touring programs will feature exotic pets, lessons on the night sky and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The farm can be contacted at 402-597-4920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
—World-Herald staff writer Nancy Gaarder