USD MRI director to discuss historic 2011 Missouri River Flood

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Tim Cowman, director of the Missouri River Institute at the University of South Dakota, will present “The Missouri River Flood of 2011: Causes, Impacts, and Post-flood Policy Decisions” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the Salsbury Science Center, Room 120 (“Z Hall”), on the campus of the University of Sioux Falls.

Cowman’s presentation will discuss events that contributed to this year’s historic flood, including how the mainstem reservoir system failed to handle these events. Impacts of the flood on river geomorphology, the riparian ecosystem and infrastructure built in the floodplain will also be discussed. The presentation will conclude by looking at mainstem reservoir and floodplain management alternatives that would reduce the impact of future floods and provide opportunities for ecosystem restoration.

In addition to serving as director of the Missouri River Institute at USD, Cowman is a Natural Resources Administrator with the SD Geological Survey. He has a master’s degree in natural sciences from the University of South Dakota. His work includes research on the geology and history of the Missouri River, with a focus on current and historical river geomorphology. He also studies the Missouri River steamboat era and was part of a team that conducted a survey of the North Alabama steamboat discovery.

Co-sponsored by the USD Missouri River Institute and Northern Prairies Land Trust, “The Missouri River Flood of 2011: Causes, Impacts, and Post-flood Policy Decisions” is free and open to the public.

A photo of Tim Cowman is available for download at


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 198 undergraduate and 79 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hailie Warren
USD News