Restoration of sea wall in Riverside Park, Muscatine, gets under way

Local News

Repair to infrastructures damaged by 2019 Mississippi River flooding in Muscatine is under way.

The river flowed through Muscatine at near-historic levels in 2019 and remained above flood stage for a record 99 consecutive days, a news release says. While floodwaters receded, the damage to infrastructures along the riverfront was revealed and repairs began.

One of those structures was the sea wall from the entrance to Mad Creek downriver to the entrance to the Muscatine Boat Harbor and Marina.

“During the flood of 2019 the protective stone lining the shore from Mad Creek to the entryway of the Muscatine Boat Harbor was damaged or displaced,” said Nick Gow, park maintenance superintendent for the City of Muscatine’s’ Parks and Recreation Department.

The sea wall was reduced in height as well as width from the floodwaters.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Muscatine County on April 16, 2019, because of continued flooding, and the county was added to the Presidential Disaster Declaration in July. The declarations allowed state and federal resources to be be used to respond to and recover from the effects of the flooding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was one of those agencies that responded to the extensive flooding in Muscatine County.

“Through the assistance of FEMA it was decided that this area (in the upriver end of Riverside Park) was eligible for repair and funding,” Gow said.

After nearly a year of paperwork and federal review, FEMA approved the sea-wall repair project. The Muscatine City Council approved the contract with Triple B Construction on May 7, 2020, to repair the sea wall with rip rap revetment stone. FEMA will pay 75 percent ($276,364.50) of the $368,486 project with the State of Iowa taking on 10 percent (3$6,848.60.) The City of Muscatine will use future bond proceeds to fund the city’s 15 percent ($55,272.90) of the project.

“With the low river levels this fall, Triple B Construction was able to begin the project starting with the jetty wall that runs adjacent to the Boat Harbor,” Gow said. “They will work their way upriver toward Mad Creek.”

Triple B first leveled the top of the sea wall and created a road for the excavator and dump truck to travel on as the wall was repaired. Tons of rip rap (loose stone used to form a foundation for a breakwater or other structure) will be hauled down this road to the area of the excavator that picks up and places the rip rap on both sides and on top of the wall.

The project is tentatively scheduled to be completed this fall.

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