Sea wall restoration underway in Riverside Park

The Mighty Mississippi River flowed through Muscatine at near historic levels in 2019. It remained above flood stage for a record 99 consecutive days before waters receded. The damage to infrastructures along the riverfront was revealed showing work needed to begin quickly to repair the damaged areas.

One of those structures was the sea wall from the entrance of Mad Creek downriver to the entrance of 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,” Nick Gow, Park Maintenance Superintendent for the City of Muscatine’s’ Parks and Recreation Department, said.

After being underwater and at the mercy to the power of the swift moving Mississippi River floodwaters for so many days, the sea wall was reduced in both height and width.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Muscatine County on April 16, 2019, due to the continued flooding and the county was added to the Presidential Disaster Declaration in July. The declarations allowed state and federal resources that could be utilized 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, the sea wall repair project was approved by FEMA. 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) and 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 towards Mad Creek.”

Triple B Construction had to first level the top of the sea wall and create a road for the excavator and dump truck to travel on as the wall was repaired. Tons of rip rap will be hauled down this road to the area of the excavator that picks up and places it on both sides and on top of the wall.

The project is tentatively scheduled to be completed this fall.