Pond Restoration and Improvements Begin at Fort Des Moines Park

Posted:7/3/2013 Polk / Fort Des Moines Park

Protection and improvement of the Fort Des Moines pond is a high priority water quality project. Polk County Conservation understands the many benefits it provides to park users and wildlife. That is why we want to make it better for you and future generations.
Fishing regulations at Fort Des Moines Pond will be relaxed beginning July 22, 2013. This action will allow anglers to more freely harvest fish before a planned October renovation. The lake's water level will be lowered 6 ft. the week of July 15th and will remain at this level until August 15th, when additional draining will occur. 
Anglers with a valid fishing license will be allowed to harvest any size or number of all fish species from Fort Des Moines Pond.  Any number of fishing poles will be allowed.  Anglers must remain in sight of these lines at all times, and follow all other fishing regulations and area rules.  Trot-lines, jug lines, nets, dynamite, poison, electric shocking devices, or any stupefying substances will not be allowed.  It is illegal to sell fish or stock captured fish into public waters.  The normal park hours of 7 a.m. until sunset will remain in effect.  Liberalized fishing regulations for Fort Des Moines Pond will remain in effect until the date of the planned renovation on or about October 1st, 2013. 
The renovation is a part of the watershed and pond improvement project.  The pond has a population of common carp and grass carp, which destroy rooted vegetation and negatively impact water quality.  The Iowa DNR will restock the pond with bluegill, largemouth bass, channel catfish and black crappie in the spring/fall of 2014.
Silt basins will be constructed on each of the arms of the pond to slow water flow and retain sediment prior to entering the Fort Des Moines pond. Rock checks and sills will be constructed across eroding gullies to prevent further downcutting of eroded channels and collapsing banks.
Several areas along the pond’s shoreline are eroding resulting in increased sedimentation of the pond and challenging access for fishing. Some portions of the eroded shoreline will be pulled back and rocked along the water’s edge to prevent wave erosion. The majority of areas will be stabilized with natural vegetation. Reconstruction of the shoreline will provide additional high quality fish habitat and provide better public access to the water. Polk County Conservation and their consultants are collaborating with the IA DNR Urban Fisheries Program on this project.
 In conjunction with the pond improvements, a series of recreation and education projects will also begin later this summer and extend through the end of 2014. These include a one mile natural trail around the pond, pedestrian bridge over the pond, accessible fishing pier, canoe launch, environmental education outdoor classroom, amphitheater and shelter, renovated shelters and playground, and peninsula enhancements.
Passage of the Polk County Water and Land Legacy bond referendum in November of 2012 has allowed Polk County Conservation to move forward with many priority projects such as these at Fort Des Moines Park.