Attracting nearly 400,000 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. The lake currently suffers from poor water clarity, algal blooms, high sedimentation rates, low oxygen concentrations, and a poor fishery.

Restoring Easter Lake

In response to the lake’s water quality problems, project partners completed research to identify pollutant sources, locate priority areas, and develop a plan of action to provide guidance and outline goals for the restoration project. Project partners have incorporated multiple funding sources into future lake and watershed improvements, as well as a new trail system that will further connect local residents to the natural amenities of Easter Lake and Ewing Park. Read more below to learn about the history of Easter Lake, project partners, and plans to improve the watershed.

Easter Lake Watershed Project Vision Statement

Easter Lake will be a sustainable resources that provides diverse outdoor recreation activities for visitors.  Public education and community involvement will be the driving force behind improving watershed management techniques and developing a healthy ecosystem.

Watershed Project Goals

  • Improve water quality throughout the watershed by implementing management practices
  • Reconnect local residents and visitors with the natural amenities of Easter Lake and its surroundings
  • Educate the public about water quality and watersheds and how their actions impact our water resources
  • Increase aquatic health and the aesthetic value of Easter Lake

Easter Lake Watershed Water Quality Management Plan

Easter Watershed Google Map



Project Partners

The Easter Lake Watershed Project is led by a team of partners with a common goal to improve water quality and ensure that Easter Lake is a sustainable resource that can provide diverse recreational activities for all visitors. Each partner organization plays an important role in reaching restoration goals at Easter Lake and throughout the watershed. The … Continue reading Project Partners

History of Easter Lake

Today many people know Easter Lake and Easter Lake Park to be one of the many great recreational resources offered by Polk County Conservation providing trails, park shelters, play grounds and volleyball courts, boating, fishing, and even a beach. However, not so many years ago the Easter Lake area was better known for farmland and coal. Imagine its … Continue reading History of Easter Lake