Improving Water Quality by...

Stabilizing the Streambanks of Easter Lake's Main Tributary

Yeader Creek Streambank Stabilization

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.

In this map, Yeader Creek is the center blue line running west to east. As can be seen, many tributaries feed into Yeader Creek. The southern arm of Easter Lake is fed by Magnolia Creek

Phase One Stabilization Projects

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.

Easter Lake Watershed Project partners including, Iowa DNR Lakes Restoration, the 319 Grant Program, and the City of Des Moines worked collaboratively to restore these sections of Yeader Creek. Funding for Phase One Yeader Creek Stabilization comes from DNR Section 319, City of Des Moines, and Iowa DNR Lakes Restoration.

YC-14 Stabilization

Phase Two Stabilization Projects

City of Des Moines, Engineering Department – In 2013, the Easter Lake Watershed Project began in effort to improve water quality in Easter Lake. In 2012, partners of the project including the City of Des Moines, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Polk County Conservation Board co-sponsored the development of the Easter Lake Water Quality Management Plan. Key actions of the plan include lake dredging (currently underway), shoreline and fishery improvement, and stabilization of Yeader Creek. Since its creation, Easter Lake has lost 30% of its volume to siltation. Analysis of the watershed estimated nearly 60% of sediment deposited in Easter Lake resulted from stream bank erosion, primarily along Yeader Creek.

The City of Des Moines completed the first Phase of the Yeader Creek Stabilization Improvements in 2017. Phase 1 improved and stabilized Yeader Creek west of SW 9th Street and in Ewing Park north of E. Diehl Avenue. Polk County is currently working to complete dredging of Easter Lake. To improve long term water quality in Easter Lake it is necessary to reduce as much sediment as possible entering Easter Lake, by restoring and stabilizing the Yeader Creek stream bed and some of its significant tributary drainageways.

Our Consultant, HR Green, Inc., the City of Des Moines, and other key regulatory agencies have identified key areas where erosion control work on Yeader Creek and its significant tributaries would be most beneficial to minimize erosion and help maintain this urban stream as a healthy stream drainageway. The design team has developed conceptual plans for the areas shown on the map included below. 

Yeader Creek Stabilization Phase 2 Practices


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