Everyone lives in a watershed.

Western Iowa is in section HUC 2-10, while the rest of the state is included in section HUC 2-07.

Watershed Management Authorities.

WMAs are the areas that the USDA focuses on within the larger watershed to address water quality issues. 

WMAs are the areas that the USDA focuses on within the larger watershed to address water quality issues. 

Strategies for Watershed Protection in Urban Areas

Strategies for Watershed Protection on Agricultural Lands

Walnut Creek 

Engaging residents to work across political and property boundaries to create and sustain a healthy watershed.

The Walnut Creek Watershed is located in west central Iowa and encompasses 53,697 acres located in both Dallas and Polk counties. Around sixty percent of the watershed is rural/agriculture and forty percent is urban. The agriculture portion is mainly located in the northern portion of the watershed and includes the communities of Dallas Center and Grimes. The urban portion, located in the southern half of the watershed, includes the communities of Clive, Waukee, West Des Moines, Windsor Heights, Urbandale, and Des Moines. High levels of nitrates, bacteria, and increased flooding are the main concerns within the Walnut Creek Watershed. A Watershed Management Authority was formed in 2014 to address these issues.

Mud, Camp, Spring Creeks 

Working together to minimize flooding and improve water quality to build a healthy watershed.

Mud, Camp and Spring Creeks are located in Polk, Jasper, and Marion Counties. Together, the creeks and their tributaries traverse over 50 miles and their watersheds cover 64,511 acres. While agriculture is the predominant land use in the area, there is a large potential for development in the coming years. There are five cities located within the boundaries; Bondurant, Altoona, Mitchellville, Runnells, and Pleasant Hill. High nutrient levels, erosion, and flooding have all been identified as primary watershed issues. To address these issues, a Watershed Management Authority was formed in 2014.

Fourmile Creek

Promoting land stewardship and sustainable watershed management that reduces flood risk, improves water quality, and supports socio-economic and environmental conditions.

Fourmile Creek Watershed encompasses 76,000 acres central Iowa. The creek itself runs for over 40 miles before entering the Des Moines River. The watershed’s northernmost reaches are located in Boone and Story Counties and include portions of the cities of Sheldahl and Slater. The largest area of the watershed is located in Polk County and encompasses the cities of Pleasant Hill, Ankeny, Altoona, Alleman, Elkhart, and Des Moines. Resource concerns seen in and along the creek include high bacteria levels, excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), and erosion. A Watershed Management Authority (WMA) was formed in 2012 to try and address these concerns.

Easter Lake 

Attracting nearly 400,000 visitors each year, Easter Lake Park has been a great recreational resource to central Iowa since its creation in 1967. Easter Lake is fed by Yeader Creek which is part of a 6,380-acre watershed that stretches across Des Moines from the airport east to the lake. Over the last several years this popular 178-acre lake has faced diminishing water quality as development in the area has increased. The lake currently suffers from poor water clarity, algal blooms, high sedimentation rates, low oxygen concentrations, and a poor fishery. The Easter Lake Watershed Project is dedicated to addressing these water quality issues, improving recreational opportunities, and reconnecting local residents with the natural amenities of the area.



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Polk Soil and Water Conservation District

1513 North Ankeny Blvd., Suite 3

Ankeny, IA, 50023

(515) 964 1883 ext. 3

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