Fort Des Moines Park Poised to Become Premier Urban Fishery

Fort Des Moines Park, already a popular park, is being transformed into a premier urban fishery.  Water quality, sustainability, urban fishing, and recreational opportunities have been extensively enhanced at the park, located just four miles from downtown Des Moines, Iowa.

Due to a destabilized watershed and significant sediment load, water quality in the lake’s 14-acre park was poor and it was badly silted in.   Working with the Polk County Conservation Board, Iowa State University, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Stanley Consultants designed watershed improvements to the drainage ways feeding the lake, oversaw the design and dredging of the lake, and improved shoreline access and lake aesthetics.  

The waterways were reshaped and lined with river rock.  The lake was dredged and several systems were put in place to keep it sediment free.   Fishing habitats were constructed at the bottom of the lake and fish spawning areas were created.   An earthen fishing pier, turtle resting spots, and “people” sitting boulders were added to enhance lake use.

As a result of the enhancements, the water quality has seen a marked improvement and the bottom is now easily visible in many areas of the lake.  With the improved water quality, improved fishery, and enhanced aesthetics it is now truly an urban oasis.