Cedar Rapids, IA
What We Do
Cedar Rapids/Linn County, Iowa
Since the catastrophic floods in 2008, Cedar Rapids/Linn County has made significant progress toward recovery, has come back stronger, and is continuing its efforts to become more prepared and build resilience to future flood events and other hazards.
Resilient America is partnering with Cedar Rapids/Linn County to explore a variety of resilience priorities such as:
- Understand and build on current community strengths
- Engage diverse voices in resilience building efforts
- Build resilience within vulnerable populations
- Effectively communicate risk to the public
- Build trust within the community
- Build multi-stakeholder, multi-generational partnerships
- Develop real-time decision making capability during a disaster
Timeline of ResilientAmerica activities with the Cedar Rapids/Linn County pilot community:
- September 2014: Kickoff Meeting
- March 2015: Meeting with Cedar Rapids/Linn County stakeholders to discuss goals, a strategic direction, and community priorities, and create a local ground team of primary partners.
- April 2015: ResilientAmerica organized and facilitated a Community Resilience Workshop with local stakeholders.
- April 2015: ResilientAmerica facilitated the role-playing Extreme Events game in Cedar Rapids.
- December 2015: Meeting with the Linn County ground team about implementing the Zurich Flood Resilience Measurement Framework in the community.
- March 2016: Meeting with the Linn County ground to plan the implementation of the Zurich Flood Resilience Measurement Framework.
- June 2016: ResilientAmerica implemented the Zurich Flood Resilience Measurement Framework to measure Linn County's baseline flood resilience and collected data from stakeholders with expertise in public health, disaster preparedness/response, and the natural environment.
- August 2016: ResilientAmerica continued the data collection effort and collected data from stakeholders from the business and academic communities and from local community groups.
- September 2016: ResilientAmerica continued the data collection effort and collected data from stakeholders from the nonprofit community and community groups.
- September 2016: The ResilientAmerica Roundtable held its biannual meeting in Cedar Rapids and met with the Linn County ground team.
- February 2017: Meeting with members of the Linn County ground team to review the data collected using the Zurich Flood Resilience Measurement Framework to grade the level of resilience for each flood resilience indicator in order to establish Linn County's baseline flood resilience.
- March 2017: Meeting with the Linn County ground team to review the results of the baseline flood resilience assessment including the common themes that emerged from the assessment, the community's successes and challenges related to flood resilience, and potential opportunities and solutions for building or enhancing flood resilience in the community.
- July 2017: ResilientAmerica hosted a webinar, “Measuring Resilience for Disaster Specific Hazards,” by Dr. (Paul) Sambanis, Adjunct Associate Professor, Director of Curriculum Emergency Management and Continuity Planning, University of Illinois at Chicago, for the Linn County ground team.
- July 2017: ResilientAmerica hosted an NGO Disaster Preparedness Training led by SF Card (San Francisco Community Agencies Responding to Disaster) as well as facilitated a discussion between representatives from the federal interagency group, the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG), and Linn County/Cedar Rapids community stakeholders about how communities are investing in and making decisions related to mitigation and disaster risk reduction.
- October 2017: ResilientAmerica implemented the Zurich Flood Resilience Measurement framework in Linn County to better understand the community's preparedness for, response to, and recovery from the October 2016 flood. ResilientAmerica met with experts from the nonprofit community, academia, and the private sector, and met with stakeholders with expertise in the natural environment.
- December 2017: ResilientAmerica continued the data collection effort and met with stakeholders from the nonprofit community, local government, and public health, and met with community groups.
- February 5-8, 2018: Meeting with members of the Linn County ground team to review the data collected in October and December 2017 using the Zurich Flood Resilience Measurement Framework to grade the level of resilience for each flood resilience indicator.
- June 19, 2018: ResilientAmerica hosted the symposium, "Moving Forward: Pathways to Building Community Resilience," in Cedar Rapids.
The highest priority risks and hazards faced in Cedar Rapids/Linn County include:
- Thunderstorms, lightning and hail
- Infrastructure failure
- River flood
- Severe winter storm
- Tornado and windstorm
- Extreme heat
- Flash flood
- Hazardous materials incident
A range of Cedar Rapids/Linn County community stakeholders are partnering with Resilient America to build resilience or have participated in Resilient America events and activities, including:
Blue Zones Project
Cedar Rapids Community School District
Cedar Rapids Gazette
Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
City of Cedar Rapids
Community of Christ
Community Resilience Institute
East Central Iowa Council of Governments
Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
Infinity Contact Inc.
International Paper's Cedar River Mill
|Iowa Legal Aid|
Kirkwood Community College
Linn County of Iowa
Mount Mercy University
Mt. Vernon Middle School
National Resilience Institute
Prairie Pride, College Community School District
Source Media Group
St. Luke’s Hospital
The Heritage Agency
Kirkwood Community College
United Way of East Central Iowa
University of Iowa
Willis Dady Homeless Shelter
Learn more about Cedar Rapids/Linn County:
- National Index: Iowa more ready than most for disasters, The Gazette, Apr 25, 2016
- State of Iowa receives $96.9 million HUD grant, Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management, January 22, 2016
- Linn County, Cedar Rapids focus of national study on resilience, The Gazette, Sept 3, 2014
- Cedar Rapids gets $264 million flood protection plan approval, The Gazette, Mar 29, 2014
- Symposium on Affordable Housing & Disaster Resilience, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Iowa State University, Apr 21, 2011
- A documentary of the 2008 flood in Cedar Rapids, “Resilience – the Spirit of Humanity,” was released in 2009. Watch the movie trailer.
Resilient America Roundtable member, Linda Langston presented Hazards Planning & Resilience: The Elected Officials Perspective at a webinar hosted by the Association of State Floodplain Managers on October 19, 2015
National Resilience Institute’s National Conference, Thriving Communities, Thriving Lives, Sept 24-25, 2015, Cedar Rapids, IA
This website contains unedited papers presentations by individuals and is not an official report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Opinions and statements included in this material are solely those of the individual authors. They have not been verified as accurate, nor do they necessarily represent the views of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.