Welcome To

Easter Lake Watershed

About Us

Easter Lake Watershed Project At A Glance

Attracting over a million visitors each year, Easter Lake Park has been a great recreational resource to central Iowa since its creation in 1967. Easter Lake is fed by Yeader Creek which is part of a 6,380-acre watershed that stretches across Des Moines from the airport east to the lake. Over the last several years this popular 178-acre lake has faced diminishing water quality as development in the area has increased. From 1967-2012, the lake lost nearly 30% of its volume due to sedimentation. 60% of this sediment was attributed to streambank erosion, primarily in Yeader CreekThe lake currently suffers from poor water clarity, algal blooms, high sedimentation rates, low oxygen concentrations, and a poor fishery. The culprit of many of these problems is increased stormwater runoff which we can reduce using conservation practices.

Watershed Project Updates

North Shore Timber Stand Improvement

Polk County Conservation and Iowa DNR have taken on the task of converting approximately 15 acres of overgrown woodland along the northern boundary of Easter Lake Park, back into a native oak-hickory savanna. This project will be completed in 3 phases. (Read more…)

Athene North Shore Recreation Area

Just three years ago it was merely a vision. Today the Athene North Shore Recreation Area is fully funded with construction crews poised to dig in. This development project at Easter Lake Park will be a unique amenity in Polk County because it was conceived and developed with the singular goal of creating the most universally designed, accessible park in the country. (Read more…)

Carlisle Bike Trail Extension

Des Moines Parks & Recreation is working with a number of partners to complete a multi-use trail section between Easter Lake and Carlisle that will include a bike trail, timber stand improvement, native plantings, and a stormwater feature. Users will have the opportunity to experience Easter Lake’s picturesque scenery as travel the newly closed gap between the Carlisle’s Summerset Trail to Iowa Central’s existing trails.  (Read more…)

More information coming soon!

Ewing Park Turf To Native Prairie

City of Des Moines Parks & Recreation partner with Iowa DNR to convert 17.5-acres of turf into native prairie landscape. Tentative plans are for this project to begin early spring of 2023.

More information coming soon!

Stay Informed On All The Great Improvements Happening Within The Watershed!

Rainscaping Practices

Learn All The Ways YOU Can Manage Stormwater At Home

    Do you have ponding water, drainage, or erosion problems in your yard?

    Unhappy with an unhealthy lawn or compacted soils?

    Are you looking for a new landscaping feature?

    Interested in a pollinator garden or improving local habitat?

    Or maybe you just want to find ways you can positively impact Easter Lake?

    Residents of the Easter Lake Watershed are eligible for funding to cover up to 75% of the total cost of implementing conservation practices. Funding has been made available by our project partners and is administered by the Polk Soil & Water Conservation District. Pre-approval is required.

    For more information or to set up a site visit, please contact the Easter Lake Watershed Coordinator.

    Rainscaping Practices
    Rainscaping Practices

    Learn About Our Community's Involvement In Restoring Water Quality Within The Easter Lake Watershed

    Getting Involved

    Yeader Creek Clean-Up

    Over the course of four months, volunteers kayaked and walked along the banks and surrounding landscape as both a group and individual effort to procure a collective 6 tons of trash and debris between Easter Lake and Mickinley/SE 14th Street. (Read more)

    Spring Rain Barrel Workshop

    Spring is right around the corner! Get a head start and attend one of our upcoming Rain Barrel workshops where you will learn how all the benefits that come with harvesting rainwater. All tools and supplies and assistance will be at your disposal to assemble your very own rain barrel to take home! Click here to view our upcoming workshops.

    Trash Bash: Brining Volunteers and Positive Change to Easter Lake

    Since 2008, the City of Des Moines has been leading Earth Day Trash Bash which is now Iowa’s largest Earth Day volunteer event. Today the event focuses on engaging citizens and businesses in volunteer projects throughout the Des Moines metro area and has grown to be a collaboration between the Cities and citizens of the Great Des Moines Area. (Read more…)

    Local Residents and Volunteers Recognized for Contributions to Easter Lake​

    Each year during the Polk County Fair, the Polk Soil and Water Conservation District presents awards to landowners, businesses, conservation driven homeowners and volunteers, organizations, high school graduates seeking environmental degrees and county and city departments for their continued and often unnoticed soil and water conservation work in Polk County. (Read more…)


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