Improving Easter Lake's Fishery by...

Removing Sediment & Increasing Lake Depth

Lake Dredging

The removal of excess sediment from Easter Lake is a key component of the lake restoration plan. Since its creation in 1967, Easter Lake has lost 30% of its lake volume due to sedimentation. Excess sediment has accumulated in the lake bed overtime decreasing the lake’s volume, increasing phosphorus, and overall decreasing water quality.

The first phase of sediment removal within the lake began in 2016 with hydraulic dredging which removed 307,178 cubic yards of sediment. Since then, additional work has been completed through mechanical dredging processes and other projects. Read more below to learn about the exciting progress we have made thus

Lake Dredging Timeline

Scroll through to witness the process in its entirety from start to finish!
May 2019
Water Clarity Improves

The removal of 678,000 cubic yards of sediment, among other lake renovations and improvements throughout the watershed, have helped reset the clock on water quality in Easter Lake. In May, we started to see some of the impact these improvements, as we observed increased water clarity in the lake. (Photo taken May 15, 2019 at the Easter Lake Beach)

November 2018 - March 2019
The Lake is Once Again Filled With Water

At the end of 2018 we are happy to say that all dredging work has been completed in Easter Lake. In total 307,178 cubic yards of sediment were removed in 2018, bringing the total amount of sediment removed from Easter Lake to 678,000 cubic yards. A total of 22,722 linear feet of shoreline stabilization was also completed as part of this process and 9 new jetties were constructed throughout the lake. The gate valve in Easter Lake was closed in November of 2018 to start the refilling process of Easter Lake and as of March 13th, 2019, Easter Lake was officially full of water!

October 2018
Completion of Shoreline & Fish Habitat Restoration

Throughout October seeding of shoreline was finished and fish habitat work was completed in preparation for remaining fisheries renovations work. Cedar trees placed for fish habitat were wired up and tied down in the lake basin.

September 2018
Mark C. Ackelson Trail Bridge Finished

In September, the trail bridge at Easter Lake was finished, completing the Mark C. Ackelson trail around the lake. Beneath the bridge a silt dike was constructed to form a sediment basin on the far west end of the lake to protect the main lake from filling back in over time.

August 2018
Fish Habitat Installation Progress

In August major progress was made on fish habitat installation along shorelines and in the lakebed. Jetties along the north shoreline were restored and armored with riprap. Additional shoreline work was also completed.

June 2018 - July 2018
Bay Sediment Removal & Shoreline Stabilization

After years of sedimentation, the bay located south of Easter Lake Drive was dredged out. The bay was deepened, and the shoreline was extended to provide more parkland for recreational use. The shoreline was stabilized with Flexamat and fish habitat was strategically placed throughout the area. East of this bay, water from the incoming Magnolia Creek was be slowed down in wetland-like areas before reaching Easter Lake. Fish habitat installation began throughout the lake at key locations along the lakebed and shoreline. Additionally, construction of the pedestrian bridge as part of the Mark C. Ackelson trail around Easter Lake began. Major work along Easter Lake beach was completed as shoreline was stabilized and deepened and fish habitat was installed including a fish spawning bed, catfish hides and cedar trees. By the end of July, nearly 20,000 feet of shoreline was stabilized, and 200,000 cubic yards of sediment were removed from Easter Lake.

May 2018
Jetty Construction & Sediment Removal of East Arm

During the month of May, sediment removal continued, with focus on the east arm of the lake. Three jetties were constructed in the east arm and the island in this part of the lake was removed and rebuilt to be much larger to provide fishing and recreational opportunities. Additionally, improvements to the boat ramp began. As part of these improvements, the bay was dredged out and the main arm of the bay was extended. Shoreline around the boat ramp and other shoreline areas was stabilized with a combination of grading, riprap and Flexamat.

February 2018 - April 2018
Sediment & Debris Removal of Lakebed

Throughout the spring, crews focused on removing sediment from the west arm of Easter Lake. With variable weather and lakebed conditions, crews continued to work throughout the lake where they could, to remove sediment and accumulated trash including several tires and began construction of new jetties.

Jan 2018
Mechanical Dredging Begins

At the start of the year, the lakebed was in suitable condition for mechanical dredging work to begin. Over the course of 2017, the lakebed needed to dry out to become stable enough for heavy equipment and hauling trucks to maneuver throughout the lake. In January, construction crews began removing sediment from the west arm of the lake.

May 2017 - June 2017
Construction of Stormwater Wetland

As part of watershed improvements, construction began in May of 2017 for a stormwater wetland and sediment basin on the northeast side of Easter Lake. To construct berms for the wetland and future sections of the Mark C. Ackelson Trail around Easter Lake, fill dirt from the lake was used. Trucks removed 2-8 feet of sediment, creating a deep in the lakebed that can be seen in the pictures above. Construction of this wetland was finished in late June of 2017. Today the stormwater wetland helps to treat and slowdown 37 acres of stormwater runoff of an adjacent neighborhood before entering Easter Lake. In total, this wetland helps to reduce 9.1 million gallons of stormwater each year and reduces 70 lbs. of nitrogen and 20 lbs. of phosphorus loading each year. Improvements like this wetland will reduce sediment and pollutant loading into Easter Lake, protecting the lake for years to come. To learn more about this project click here.

May 2017
Shelter 4 Bay Sediment Removal

In May of 2017, dredging of 4,000 cubic yards of sediment was completed in a bay near shelter 4 at Easter Lake Park. Silt completely filled in the bay, removing any idea of fishing opportunity off the deck at shelter 4. Sediment was removed mechanically and deposited at a nearby location within Easter Lake Park. Dredging of this bay was targeted to provide greater fishing opportunity and accessibility to park users. The bay is now 8-10 feet deep. In the future, fish habitat will be installed, and the railing of the deck located at shelter 4 will be adjusted to allow for handicapped fishing opportunities.

Winter 2016 - Spring 2017
Draining of Easter Lake

In late 2016, the gate was partially opened to reduce the water level of Easter Lake. Initially the gate was partially opened to give fish a chance to move down stream. Later in early 2017, the gate was completely opened to finish draining Easter Lake in preparation for shoreline and habitat work.

May 2016 - December 2016
Hydraulic Dredging of the Lake

Throughout the latter half of 2016, hydraulic dredging removed approximately 300,000 cubic yards of sediment from Easter Lake. This sediment was pumped through a pipe across the Des Moines River into a gravel pit now officially named the Vandalia Wildlife Refuge which was acquired by Polk County Conservation in 2014.

Early April 2016
Sediment Removal Preparations Begin

Site preparations begin at Easter Lake in anticipation for dredging of the lake. In mid-April a hydraulic dredge was moved onto Easter Lake. A hydraulic dredge floats on the water excavating and pumping material through a temporary pipeline to an offsite location. The dredge acts like a floating vacuum cleaner that can remove sediment very precisely. It is an unobtrusive method that does not disturb the shoreline and only requires one trip to put the dredge in the water and one trip out when work is complete. The sediment that is hydraulically removed from Easter Lake was pumped through a pipe, across the Des Moines River into a newly acquired gravel pit owned by Polk County Conservation now known as the Vandalia Wildlife Refuge.


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