Low Head Dams Could Be Removed in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa--  The city of Des Moines is considering the removal of the Center Street Dam.

We joined the DNR and other city officials on the Des Moines River, and we were the only fleet in sight.

"There really isn’t a lot of entry points into the river whether getting your body into the river or your boating vessel," Des Moines Rowing Club Brenda Copley said.

The DNR says low head dams are in part, why there are less entry points.

"Get those access in and out of the river safely so that young people and other people can enjoy it," Director of the DNR Chuck Gipp said.

Now there are plans to fix that, and it starts with the Center Street Dam.

“We’d build a series of arches to reduce the top of the slope we would build a ramp of rock and it that would be the arches," the DNR said.

This project would be passed by the legislature and paid for by voters.

"That's a .38 cent sales tax to fund the trust fund that was passed by voters back in 2010," River Advocate Steve Folck said.

The money would eliminate drowning traps caused by strong currents.

"We lose one to two people every year on drowning incidents in conjunction with the low head dam accidents,” Gipp said.

The DNR says the river sees more than 300,000 people a year and the goal is to increase that number all while keeping people safe.