City of Dubuque News Release

Upper Bee Branch Creek Project Receives Engineering Excellence Awards

Deron Muehring, Civil Engineer

June 17, 2019 -- For Immediate Release

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The City of Dubuque Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project was recently awarded state and national engineering excellence awards.
The project was awarded the 2019 Grand Prize Award in the Special Projects category along with the 2019 Grand Conceptor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Iowa. The Grand Conceptor Award is presented to one project that stands out above all other entries, regardless of project category.
The project then went on to achieve a National Recognition Award in the ACEC 2019 Engineering Excellence Awards competition – the “Academy Awards of the engineering industry.” The National Recognition Award is a prestigious distinction honoring projects that have achieved top awards for excellence in state competitions.
The award was presented to Deron Muehring, Bee Branch project manager for the City of Dubuque, and Mike Jansen, CEO of IIW, an engineering, architecture and surveying firm headquartered in Dubuque. IIW served as one of the architectural and engineering consultants for the project.
The ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards competition recognizes engineering firms for projects that demonstrate an exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value. The overall goal of the awards program is to recognize outstanding engineering achievements to a national audience, and to provide an opportunity for recognition for engineering firms, their employees and their clients.
The Upper Bee Branch Creek Restoration is one of several infrastructure improvements the City of Dubuque is making as part of the Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project to address severe and frequent flash flooding in the Bee Branch Watershed. The project involved removing the buried Bee Branch storm sewer and replacing it with a 2,300-foot long creek and greenspace. It also included utility relocations and the construction of two vehicular bridges, a multi-use trail, a permeable parking lot, a stepped amphitheater, a play area with slides, and scenic overlooks.
Since its completion, the Bee Branch Creek has increased the area’s capacity for stormwater by tenfold. What was once an 8’ x 12’ storm sewer is now an 8’ x 120’ waterway. During rain events, the creek and floodplain channels stormwater through Dubuque’s North End neighborhood without flooding adjacent properties. Several sustainable practices were used including permeable pavement, bioswales, and native plants to promote the infiltration and filtration of stormwater and improve water quality. The area also serves as a linear park with several amenities.
Having been constructed as a natural area, the re-created creek and floodplain is expected to function for the next century and beyond. It is estimated Dubuque’s Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project will prevent $582 million in damages over its 100-year design life. To learn more about the Bee Branch Creek Restoration Project, visit
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