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Dry Run Creek Designed to Prevent Floods

Waverly, Iowa, is built around the Cedar River which overflowed in the flood of 2008. To prevent such natural disasters in their community, Waverly researched different ways to prevent flooding, such as dry run creeks. Dry run creeks can be found across Bremer County but also in towns and cities across Iowa. They are named dry run creeks because of their specific design. Their purpose is to help prevent flooding, or other natural disasters. They are strategically placed, and researched.

Waverly, Iowa, 10/18/23, 3:38 p.m. (no water), Waverly, Iowa, 11/21/2023 (water)

Driving Question

What purpose do dry run creeks serve for a community? What is the purpose of a dry run creek?

Probing Questions

  • Why is the dry run creek placed where it is?
  • What are the benefits of having a dry run creek in place?
  • How do dry run creeks prevent weather-related hazards like floods?
  • What possible negative effects could dry run creeks have on the ecosystem around them?
  • What could be other ways we could prevent weather-related hazards?

Classroom Activities

Students could:

  • In groups, build dry run creeks out of environmental materials (such as different sized rocks, clay etc.), that can collect and move water.
  • Brainstorm and list different traits and characteristics of a dry run creek, and the ecosystems around it. If located in their community, students can consider their local dry run creek.
  • Research the placement of dry run creeks around the world and compare and contrast to determine which dry run creek placement might work best.


Iowa Core Alignment


Make a claim about the merit of a design solution that reduces the impacts of a weather-related hazard.

Credit Info

Submitted by Emma True and Maddy Moser.

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