Easter Lake Restoration Almost Complete, Fish Removal is One of Final Steps

DES MOINES, Iowa -- For about two years, Easter Lake hasn’t looked like much more than a large hole with some dirt and a couple of puddles, but in a few days that will start to change.

First the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has to remove two types of fish that are not good for the lake’s ecosystem, common carp and gizzard shad, with a chemical called Rotenone.

“This is an EPA approved pesticide that’s used specifically for fish. It doesn’t affect anything except for fish. And the areas that they are treating are actually quite a ways from people any way. So what the DNR will do is they’re going to put information for all the land owners around the lake about what’s going on and then the day of the treatment we will stop traffic from coming into the lake,” Polk County Conservation Director Rich Leopold said.

Easter Lake Park will be closed on Tuesday for fish removal and re-filling the lake. It will not reopen until the chemical has broken down to a safe level which could take anywhere from one day to four weeks.

Neighboring residents will be notified once the park is re-opened and the director said people will be able to enjoy some other additions to the park.

“We’ve got things like a 4.2 mile trail going around the lake, eight bridges- the largest of which is 440 feet long. It’s going to be amazing. We’ve been doing a lot with fish habitat, the shoreline shaping, a new beach that’s coming on there,” Leopold said.

He said they hope to fully reopen the lake in June.

“We took over 300,000 cubic yards of muck out of that lake. That’s a lot of muck and then to restore the bottom, restore the shoreline and everything else. When we fix a lake, we like to make sure it’s good for at least 50 years. So hopefully that’s what we’ve done here,” Leopold said.

For more information on fish removal and the chemical being used click here.