How Does Flooding Impact Iowa’s Wildlife?

The Mississippi River in Burlington is in a major flood stage currently, and you may wonder how Iowa’s wildlife reacts to flooding. Thankfully, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources shares the answer.

Just like us, most critters head for higher ground, when and where it’s available. Some climb trees for a temporary home.

For reptiles and amphibians, more water and more humid conditions help them thrive – less chance of drying out and more opportunity to colonize into areas new to them.

With fewer flooding events in the spring and more in the summer, animals that had adapted to spring flooding for nesting may now struggle to have a successful nest.

Birds – as you’d expect – will generally move to higher ground if they can, but heavy rain and flooding is usually a problem for birds that nest on or near the ground. Many species will attempt to re-nest and try again, though second nests often produce fewer young.

In any case, it will take wildlife time to recover from a devastating weather event like this year’s flooding, but having healthy populations will allow for that recovery to happen faster.