Since the creation of Easter Lake in 1967, 30% of the lake’s volume has been lost to siltation. An estimated 60% of the contributing sediment is attributed to bank erosion, mainly from Yeader Creek.
About Yeader Creek
Yeader Creek is the main water source for Easter Lake. Starting near the Des Moines International Airport and Fleur Drive, Yeader Creek runs west to east through the middle of the Easter Lake Watershed all the way to Easter Lake. Most of the water in Yeader Creek comes from stormwater runoff from the surrounding urban landscape.
Urban landscapes are dominated by impervious surfaces like parking lots, rooftops, and roads which all create massive amounts of stormwater runoff. During rain events, stormwater runs over these impervious surfaces, into storm drains which then outlet into Yeader Creek. During a single storm event millions of gallons of water are rushing through Yeader Creek creating flashy stream flows which can cause large amounts of stream bank erosion.
17 miles of stream bank along Yeader Creek are comprised of fine grained loam soils and in some locations loess soil as well. In addition, along many areas of the Creek invasive species have taken over which has decreased the amount of good ground cover leading to more erosion. The loamy and loess soils along Yeader Creek are easily eroded away, especially with flashy stream flows and poor vegetative cover.
Stabilizing Yeader Creek for a Healthier Easter Lake
When initial analysis was completed for Easter Lake and the watershed, it was quickly understood that addressing the eroding banks of Yeader Creek was key to restoring health back to Easter Lake. Through stabilization projects along Yeader Creek, large reductions of sediment and phosphorus loading into Easter Lake will be seen.
As of 2017, two stabilization projects have been completed. The first of the two projects, YC-14, stabilized a total of 2,600 feet of stream bank. The stabilization of this section is estimated to reduce 234 tons of sediment loading per year and 304.2 pounds of phosphorus loading per year. The second project, YC-8, stabilized 2,200 feet of stream bank which will in turn help to reduce 396 tons of sediment loading per year and 514.8 pounds of phosphorus loading per year.
Phase 2 discussions of Yeader Creek Stabilization projects have already begun. Construction for these projects will be bid in fall of 2018 and will be completed in summer of 2019.
Iowa DNR Lakes Restoration, the 319 Grant Program, and the City of Des Moines, all Easter Lake Watershed Project partners, are working collaboratively to restore Yeader Creek. Funding for these projects comes from DNR Section 319, City of Des Moines, and Iowa DNR Lakes Restoration.