Capital Project Timeline Update

Polk County Conservation, September 2017- The Easter Lake Renovation is making progress toward our common goal. It is a complicated project involving but not limited to restoring the watershed, cleaning up the lake waters, renovating the fishery, and making multiple improvements to the park including a multiuse trail, sediment basins, shoreline restoration, boat ramp rebuild, invasive species control, repairing dam infrastructure, replacing the bridge and Evergreen Ave. on the dam, etc.

As with any multi-year, multi-objective project there are certain actions that have to take place before others can proceed. There are periods of time when the public doesn’t see much of the progress happening and assumes that the project has stalled- such as this summer.

In order to do much of the on-shore work, such as the new trail segments and bridge and road replacement, we were forced to wait until the lake bed dried and would allow the lake bed to be accessed with heavy equipment. This summer two areas where sediment was entering the lake (near shelter 4 and on the NE side of the lake) have been excavated and sediment basins constructed. The trail is being constructed and Evergreen Ave.  on the dam and the bridge at our spillway are being removed and replaced. All items that needed a dry lake bed to be accomplished.

The last phase of the “lake” work is finishing design. That phase which includes additional in-lake dredging (approx. 225,000 cubic yards) from shallow and inaccessible areas, reconstruction of the shoreline, in-lake fish habitat, and the final phase of the trail at the west end with a 445 foot long bridge across the west arm will be bid this fall for winter and spring/summer work.

The plan is still relatively “on schedule.” We have had some delays which include the inability of the wet dredge contractor to remove as much silt as planned. However, it is still planned that water will be refilling the lake at the end of next year barring unforeseen weather delays.

Even when we close the gates and the lake refills with water, there will still be much work remaining to do. Grade stabilization along Yeader and Magnolia Creeks, as well as the dredging and restoration of the Three Lakes Estates complex of ponds will be undertaken in the next few years. The restoration and preservation of Easter Lake and its watershed will continue into the future with all the partners involved in protecting this public asset.

Mark C. Ackelson Trail

Item Construction Completion
Phase III Trail Bid Summer 2017 Completed Fall 2017
West Fore-bay Bridge Bid Fall of 2017 Completed Fall 2018
Des Moines River Trail Phase II Bid 2018 Complete Winter 2019

Phase III of the Mark C. Ackelson Trail is currently under construction. This final phase will provide the connections throughout the park and out on Payton Avenue with the exception of the bridge connection over the West fore-bay. The City of Des Moines will be connecting the Des Moines River Trail from Cownie Soccer Park to Easter Lake beginning in 2019.

Trail phases

Easter Lake Renovations

Item Construction Completion
Dredging/Shoreline/Habitat Bid Winter of 2017 Completed December 2018
Ditch Checks/Silt Basins On-going projects Complete Fall of 2018
Re-water Lake Spring of 2019 Lake was full as of March 13, 2019

Plans and specifications are being finalized for the remaining mechanical dredging, shoreline restoration/stabilization and fish habitat structures within Easter Lake. Bids will go out this winter with construction during calendar year 2018. Internal watershed enhancements will continue throughout 2017 and 2018.

Easter Lake Watershed Renovations

Item Construction Completion
Yeader Creek – Phase 2 Bid Spring 2019 2019-2020
City Detention Basin Restoration Bid Fall 2018 May 2020

Easter Lake Watershed Improvements are being coordinated by the City of Des Moines to improve water quality and reduce sediment entering Easter Lake. Iowa Department of Natural Resources will assist in restocking of the lake.

Click here for additional project updates from Polk County Conservation.