Polk County Conservation

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Nature News- Hot Off the Press!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Nature News Sept . 17

The newest edition of Nature News is now available online! Find out what is going on in your favorite park and what events and programs are taking place September through December.

Canoe & Kayak Rental at Chichaqua Closed Due to Low Water

Monday, July 17, 2017

Due to low water levels in the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt oxbows, canoe and kayak rentals are closed until further notice. This notice will be removed when rentals become available again.

It's Back & Better Than Ever! Glow Wild 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Eblast Banner

Bring the whole family to an afternoon of food, fun, environmental education programming, drinks and live music – all illuminated by an evening bonfire.

Date: September 3, 2017
Time: 3 - 10 p.m.
Location: 11407 NW Jester Park Dr Granger, IA 50109

Glow Wild 2017 will feature more food trucks, extended hours, more activities, a larger venue and more fun!

Live Music Featuring:

  • Parranderos Latin Combo (3 - 6 pm)
  • Swing Crew (7 - 10 pm)
  • Water Rocks! (6 - 7 pm)

Ticket Prices:

  • Children Under 2 are Free!
  • Child: (18 and Under) $9 in advance - $12 at the door
  • Adult: $12 in advance - $15 at the door
  • Family Pack: 2 Adult tickets & 3 child tickets - $35.00 (All family members must be present at same time for entry)

**Purchase Tickets Here**

Day Activities: 3 – 6 pm
• Bird Watching (Pelicans)
• Insects and Monarch Tagging
• Geology and Rocks
• Willow Raft Craft
• Pond Life

Night Activities: 6:30 – 8:30 pm
• Astronomy
• Frogs
• Insects

Equestrian Activities: 3 – 7:30 pm
• Draft Team Selfie Booth
• Interactive Pony Station
• Displays and Interactive Exhibits

*More activities to be announced closer to the event! 

To stay up-to-date visit www.GlowWildIowa.com

**Purchase Tickets Here**

Brought to you by our presenting sponsor

Gabus Ford Logo Small

Polk County Water Quality Monitoring Annual Report Released

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Polk County Water and Land Legacy bond referendum (passed in 2012) has provided us with the necessary funding to undertake many significant water quality improvement projects since its inception.

In part, this bond has allowed Polk County Conservation to start a water monitoring program to help assess watershed quality in Polk County. The first year of monitoring took place from October 1, 2015 - September 30, 2016. Regular monitoring should be able to detect changes to water quality in the future.

Below are links to the condensed and full versions of these annual reports.

Polk County Water Quality Monitoring Program Annual Report- Condensed

Polk County Water Quality Monitoring Program Annual Report- Full Version 

Easter Lake Drained, Restoration to Begin Spring 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

As planned and on schedule, Polk County Conservation in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the City of Des Moines are moving forward with the next phase of the Easter Lake Watershed Plan that was developed in 2012. Successful completion of the wet dredging process in 2016, which removed hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of silt from the lake, allowed for ideal timing and conditions for the draining of Easter Lake. The lake was drained to fulfill many goals and objectives associated with the overall plan which includes the following:

  • Improve fisheries, fisheries habitat, and water quality.
  • Expose the shoreline so we can accurately evaluate public access improvements and in-lake plant life enhancements for wildlife.
  • Dry out the lake bottom so some additional mechanical dredging and shoreline work can begin in the spring of 2017.
  • Improve dam safety by installing another gate valve that will ensure safe and operative future lake level management.
  • Enhance boat ramp access for watercraft recreation interests.
  • Provide safe, non-motorized trail access around the lake by completing the Mark C. Ackelson Trail which will connect Easter Lake to Ewing Park.
  • Remove the lake from the state's impaired waters list through the execution of an extensive, multi-year watershed restoration plan.

The main gate valve in Easter Lake was fully opened in January so in-lake restoration work can begin this spring. The majority of fish in the lake exited through the gate valve and were sent downstream into the Des Moines River. We did experience some fish loss, but we took the necessary steps to minimize this by promoting relaxed fishing regulations in 2016 and working closely with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau.

Park users and neighbors can expect slight musky odor at times, but this will be minimal. Park shelters will be first-come, first-served in 2017- no reservations will be accepted. The swimming beach and boat ramp will be closed. In-lake mechanical dredging and shoreline restoration work has begun and will continue through the fall of 2018. Final trail construction should be completed by the end of 2017. All major improvements are expected to conclude by Fall of 2018 upon which time the lake will begin filling back up and fisheries will be restocked.

Questions about this project can be directed to Loren Lown, Polk County Conservation Parks and Natural Areas Planner, at 515-323-5364 or loren.lown@polkcountyiowa.gov.

Contact Us

Administration Office
11407 NW Jester Park Drive
Granger, IA 50109

P: (515) 323-5300
F: (515) 323-5354

Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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