The 2019 ACEC/Iowa Engineering Excellence Awards winning projects in the Special Projects Category:

Special Projects Grand Place Award (1st Place in Category) AND 2019 Engineering Excellence Grand Conceptor Award Winner

Firm: IIW, PC
Client/Owner: City of Dubuque
Project: Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration
Contact: Mr. Michael Jansen
E-mail: [email protected] ~ Phone: 563-556-2464



The Bee Branch Watershed, where over 50 percent of Dubuque’s residents either live or work, is the area hit hardest during rain events. Six Presidential Disaster Declarations were issued between 1999 and 2011 due to flash flooding resulting in an estimated $69.8 million in damages.

The watershed encompasses historic neighborhoods offering some of the community’s most affordable workforce housing. For over a decade, the area suffered losses from water damage and disinvestment. From 2004 to 2009, commercial property values rose 39 percent citywide but fell six percent in the watershed. Based on a 2009 FEMA study, 1,373 homes and businesses, including 70 businesses that employ over 1,400 people were prone to flooding.

Most communities see flooding as strictly stormwater management. That approach does not address water quality, healthy homes, preservation of neighborhoods, and economic development. Dubuque could have constructed a concrete ditch or massive storm sewers. Instead, through a citizen lead engagement process, residents and stakeholders embraced the Sustainable Dubuque framework to create a flood solution that accommodates a range of hydrologic conditions while providing community and biological integrity.

The Bee Branch Creek Restoration involved replacing almost one-mile of storm sewer with a creek and floodplain that resembles the one that traversed the area over 100 years ago. This daylighting of the buried creek allows storm water from flash floods to safely move through the area without flooding adjacent properties. The restored creek also serves as a linear park. Amenities include a multi-use trail, scenic overlooks, a play area with slides, an amphitheater, benches, lighting, and over 4,000 plantings.

In the summer of 2017, 4.9 inches of rain fell in less than 24 hours in Dubuque. With the completed creek, property damage was largely avoided. In 2002, there had been a similar storm with 4.9 inches of rain in 24 hours that resulted in $11.6 million in property damage. Although every rain event is unique, it can be estimated that without the completed restored creek, the 4.9 inch rainstorm would have caused significant property damage.

It is anticipated that the Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project will prevent an estimated $582 million in damages over the 100-year design life of the project.

Split into two distinct sections, the Lower Bee Branch was completed in 2011. This submittal focuses on the 1,938-foot-long Upper Bee Branch portion, which was finished in July 2017.

Click Here for Presentation


Special Projects Honor Award (2nd place in category)

Project: WRA Four Mile Creek Improvements- North of Broadway
Firm: Snyder & Associates, Inc.
Client/Owner: Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority


Special Projects Engineering Achievement Award

Project: South Skunk River Basin Watershed Improvements
Firm: Bolton & Menk, Inc.
Client/Owner: City of Ames

Project: Clive Pavement Management, Design Standards and Specifications Study
Firm: HR Green, Inc.
Client/Owner: City of Clive

Project: The Preserve on Grand
Firm: McClure
Client/Owner: Diligent Development

Project: Grand Crossing PICP Parking Lot
Firm: Clapsaddle- Garber Associates, Inc.
Client/Owner: Grand Investments

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