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.
When project partners came together to restore Easter Lake, it was decided the lead agency for the Easter Lake Watershed Project would be the Polk Soil & Water Conservation District. The District houses the Easter Lake Watershed Coordinator who works with project partners to implement the Easter Lake Watershed Management Plan.
Since its creation, Polk County Conservation (PCC) has owned and managed Easter Lake Park. In November of 2012, voters chose to support the Polk County Water and Land Legacy Bond which supports efforts to invest in Polk County water, land, habitat, parks, and trails. As part of the Conservation Board’s initial projects, Easter Lake was made a priority for critical water quality improvements. As a partner of the Easter Lake Watershed Project, Polk County Conservation helps to provide leadership and support through project funding and staff support. PCC natural resource staff help to provide assistance for conservation projects and help lead efforts to restore woodland areas of Easter Lake Park. PCC education and outreach staff also help in promotional efforts, volunteer events, workshops, and more.
The City of Des Moines is a valuable partner of the Easter Lake Watershed Project. The City works hand in hand with project partners to develop final designs for water quality improvement projects and assists in the implementation of the Watershed Management Plan. In addition to providing funding assistance the City also provides guidance and technical assistance as well as staff support for education and outreach activities.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources- Fisheries -Lakes Restoration Program (LRP) helps to lead in-lake improvements and supports efforts to implement the Watershed Management Plan. In addition to funding support, the DNR Fisheries and LRP provide staff support. DNR fisheries biologist and LRP staff are heavily involved in aspects related to in-lake restoration efforts and fisheries management components of the plan.
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Division of Soil Conservation (IDALS-DSC) Urban Conservation Program plays an important role in providing training to coordinators, technical assistance, and help with planning and implementing conservation practices. IDALS-DSC provides funding for best management practices and support for communications and outreach activities.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides project coordinators with workspace, equipment, and other needs. Additionally, NRCS helps to provide technical assistance on site assessment and best management practice design.
As part of the Clean Water Act, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency 319 Grant helps to support water quality efforts for non-point source pollution. In 2012, the Easter Lake Watershed Project was awarded 319 grant which plays an important role in providing funding for project implementation, staff, best management practices, and education and outreach.
Funding for the Easter Lake Watershed Project has been provided through a Federal EPA 319 grant and a variety of partners including Polk County Conservation, City of Des Moines, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Division of Soil Conservation (IDALS-DSC), and Iowa Department of Natural Resources – Fisheries and Lakes Restoration Program.