Easter Lake and Yeader Creek Fall Cleanup 2022

Easter Lake Park Stewards Remove over 6 Tons of Urban Litter

The Easter Lake Park Stewards is a volunteer lead group of dedicated individuals that donate their time to beautifying and improving the water quality of our watershed. What started as a single Yeader Creek Cleanup event, partnering with Polk County Conservation, City of Des Moines and Iowa Rivers Revival, grew into a multi month-long cleanup of Easter Lake and its main tributary, Yeader Creek.  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 Mckinley/SE 14th Street.

If you would like to become a member of the Easter Lake Park Stewards and aid in future efforts around the park such as maintenance of pollinator and rain gardens, invasive species removal and prairie seed collections, click here for more information.

Snapshots of the Litter and Debris Hauled Out by Volunteers at Easter Lake and Yeader Creek

August 8 - October 16

6,147.0 lbs

October 17 - October 31

1,220.6 lbs

November 1 - December 2

4,317.8 lbs

December 4 - December 14

319.9 lbs

Canoes & Kayaks Cruise The Open Waters

A team of enthusiastic volunteers in kayaks and canoes navigated the open waters of Easter Lake and Yeader Creek, collecting floating debris and trash out of arms reach from the shoreline. To increase the efficiency of waste removal, a kayak launch was made to allow easy access in and out of the creek. Volunteers would load up as much litter as possible and then paddle to collection spots along the shore where it could then be hauled by a team to a nearby waste receptacle. Some impressive finds included a grocery cart and an 80lb culvert!

Bad Things in Small Packages

The ugly truth on confetti and cigarette butts

Many don’t realize that cigarette filters are made of plastic and are not biodegradable. They leach toxic chemicals that contaminate our water ways and harm the aquatic life that inhabit them and have been found in dead turtles, birds, fish and aquatic mammals. In an article published by University of California, it was determined that cigarette filters alone make up 30-38 percent of the waste found along shorelines and water ways.

Our parks are wonderful places to celebrate happy occasions such as weddings, birthdays and family reunions but the beautiful confetti used for these fleeting moments of happiness can leave behind a saddening aftermath. Not only does left over confetti pollute the environment, but the beautiful shine and colors capture not only our attention but also that of birds and other small creatures who readily ingest these small pieces, causing internal impaction that can eventually lead to starvation and death.

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Volunteers Trek the Terrain in Search of Trash

Park Grounds

Volunteers scoured the park grounds of both Easter Lake Park and Ewing Park to collect trash left behind from events, park visitors and roadsides.


Often during heavy rain events, stormwater surges through Yeader Creek from nearby storm drains and streambanks, carrying with it large debris like the chair and 80lb culvert seen in this photo!


Iowa’s strong winds blow a flurry of roadside litter that gets caught in the branches of our park woodlands.

Stormwater Outlets

As water rushes down our streets during rain events, large debris carried with it can get caught in the grates of our stormwater outlets, impairing their ability to convey water efficiently

Rolling Out Some Serious Trash

Between the months of October – December, Volunteers removed several large items including 11 tires, several shopping carts, a mattress, an 80lb culvert, and the front-end bumper of a vehicle. Look below at the drastic difference made by these devoted individuals!

A Special Thank You to All of Our Wonderful Volunteers!


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