Des Moines River flood monitoring expanded

Collective bargaining agreements will soon be discussed for three of the county’s departments, the Webster County Board of Supervisors heard Tuesday.

A new sensor will also be installed on the Des Moines River to help with flood monitoring.

The supervisors also approved further work for the Lundgren Wind Project, updated the county’s Substance Abuse Provider Contracts, and discussed running a conduit to connect two county buildings while First Avenue South was being torn up.

The Webster County Courthouse, the Webster County Jailers, and the Webster County Sheriff’s Department will open collective bargaining agreements, which will take effect July 1, 2015. The Teamsters Local 238 Union will negotiate the agreement.

The last contract lasted three years, said Supervisor Clark Fletcher.

Flood monitor

The Iowa Flood Center will install a stream-stage sensor on the Des Moines River bridge on County Road D14, just north of Fort Dodge. The center maintains a network of more than 150 sensors throughout the state to monitor stream height in real time.

The sensors are solar powered and measure the water level using a sonar signal. Data is sent to the IFC using a cell modem.

The sensor network was developed after the severe flooding of 2008, according to the IFC. More are currently being installed throughout the state thanks to funding by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Fletcher said the U.S. Geological Survey already has a sensor farther downstream, past where Lizard Creek meets the Des Moines River. He said the new sensor will allow more frequent updates when necessary.

A map showing up-to-date river levels can be viewed at the Iowa Flood Information System’s website,

Lundgren Wind


The board approved Wanzek Construction to temporarily lower overhead lines at 12 locations west of U.S. Highway 169, and temporarily fill in ditches at 14 locations, to allow access for large cranes working in the Lundgren Wind project.

Webster County Engineer Randy Will said 53 of the 107 turbines have been erected, and all the electric lines have been buried east of U.S. Highway 169. Nearly all temporary modifications to intersections have been completed, and some are already being put back to normal.

Substance Abuse


The board approved Substance Abuse Provider Contracts with Mercy Medical Center in Mason City and Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo. This is a routine update to existing contracts, said Webster County Community Services Administrator Ken Hays, and reflects a slight increase as rates have gone up.

This includes people sent to involuntary substance abuse treatment, Hays said. The county tries to place people at Community Family Resources whenever possible, instead of the hospital.

“We generally try to have our substance abuse committals go to CFR if possible,” Hays said, “which is about half the price of these hospitals.”

Webster-Calhoun drainage

The board also met by phone with the Calhoun County Board of Supervisors and approved claims in two Webster Calhoun joint drainage districts.

In district No. 70 Webster – 95 Calhoun, the joint board approved a repair for $10,140 to riprap a corner as requested by the landowner. This was work that was not part of the original, larger project which ended up costing about $731,000.

The joint board also approved a claim from attorney Dave Wollenzien for $712 and from attorney Eric Eide for $1,000.