Archive for the ‘Parks’ Category

August 24, 2017

Purple Martin Lake Water Resource Area Opens for Public Use

The metro’s newest recreational area is open for outdoor enthusiasts. On Thursday, August 24, Des Moines Water Works, along with Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the City of West Des Moines and the Friends of Walnut Woods State Park held a grand opening of Purple Martin Lake Water Resource Area, located off Army Post Road, southwest of Walnut Woods State Park.

Purple Martin Lake Water Resource Area is owned by Des Moines Water Works and was a former sand, rock and gravel quarry that now serves dual purposes of drinking water source for Des Moines Water Works customers and recreational use.  The area will offer hiking, jogging and walking, along with all non-motor recreation on the water, similar to Maffitt Reservoir.

“The former quarry provides an operational benefit to Des Moines Water Works’ ability to produce safe, affordable and abundant drinking water to 500,000 central Iowans; however, it was recognized early on the inherent benefits of the property.  Des Moines Water Works appreciates the initiative and dedication of Iowa Department of Natural Resources staff to manage the property as an extension of Walnut Woods State Park.  This partnership is consistent with Des Moines Water Works goal of stewardship of public land, and will additionally provide an opportunity to highlight the story of water,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works.

Through an agreement with Des Moines Water Works, the DNR will manage Purple Martin Lake Water Resource Area and the area surrounding the lake as an extension of the DNR’s neighboring Walnut Woods State Park.

“We are thrilled to oversee this new hub for outdoor recreation. This area will provide one more option locally to get outside and enjoy the great resources Iowa has to offer. It is a top priority for the DNR to provide great areas like this to help attract newcomers outdoors to enjoy nature,” said Chuck Gipp, Director, Iowa DNR.

The area is named after the Purple Martin bird species and has several Purple Martin birdhouses and an area for visitors to view the birds. The name came about and project came to fruition through collaboration among the Des Moines Water Works, Department of Natural Resources, City of West Des Moines and the Friends of Walnut Woods State Park. The Purple Martin is the largest North American swallow but their populations are undergoing long-term declines in many parts of North America.  Purple Martins rely almost entirely on human-supplied housing and IDNR had grant money for the installation of a number of Purple Martin houses.

The area will be open daily from 6:00 am – 10:30 pm.

Directions From Interstate 35 and/or Hwy 5:  From Interstate 35 take exit 68 (Hwy. 5).  From Hwy. 5 take exit #102 (35th St.) for Walnut Woods State Park.  Drive North to Army Post Rd.  then turn left (west) on Army Post Rd.  to SE 42nd St.  Continue west on Army Post Rd. for .4 miles to the entrance to Purple Martin Lake.

From Interstate 235 take exit for 63rd St./Hwy. 28 south.  Take Hwy. 28/63rd St. south (crossing Grand Ave. & Park Ave.) to Army Post Rd./Willow Creek St.  Turn right/west on Army Post Rd./Willow Creek St. to Veterans Pkwy. Turn left/south on Veterans Pkwy then turn right again(west) on Army Post Rd. go west on Army Post Rd. to SE 42nd St continue on Army Post Rd. for .4 miles to entrance to Purple Martin Lake.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Conservation, Parks, Source Water September 13, 2016

Water Works Park Plans and Progress

In 1925, the Board of Water Works Trustees purchased 334 acres of land south of the Raccoon River, west of S.W. 30th Street. General Manager Charles Denman stated that the newly acquired land would insure a potential water supply large enough for a city twice the size of Des Moines. Gradually, additional land (now known as Water Works Park) bordering the Raccoon River on both sides, extending to 63rd Street was purchased to protect the source water. In April of 1933, Water Works Park was opened to the public. At that time, the water supply grounds covered 1,400 acres. Today, Water Works Park now spans 1,500 acres.

In 2013, the Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation was formed and charged with implementing the master plan for Water Works Park. The Park Foundation recently announced it has gone over the $5 million mark in pledges for the planned $9 million first phase of Water Works Park improvements.

It should be noted that the funds being raised to implement the master plan by the Foundation are from private sources and do not come from Des Moines Water Works ratepayers.

RDg_Waterworks_7 - skylineThe focus of the first phase is to create a destination platform for individuals’ and groups’ daily use and self-programming. The Park Foundation hopes to enhance Water Works Park users’ experience by developing a two-way amphitheater, the great lawn, a celebration lawn, natural play areas, and a series of pathways that lead to different experiences in and around the existing Arie den Boer Arboretum. The new elements are being designed to be both flood resilient and located on the highest ground in the park, which historically only floods during 100 year flood events.

The goal of the master plan is to introduce visitors to Water Works Park’s many assets through better wayfinding; support systems such as parking, bathrooms and food trucks; and safe connections to neighboring Gray’s Lake Park and the many regional trail systems. This will make Water Works Park more accessible for users across all spectrums of age, ability and interest – all while telling the history and importance of water in the greater Des Moines metro area.

“This plan offers something for everyone,” said Randy Reichardt, President of the Park Foundation Board. “It’s free, accessible and in the middle of the city. The project brings to life an under-utilized resource that will help elevate the quality of life for anyone who comes in contact with this amazing park.”

The Park Foundation believes that by enhancing the connectivity of this urban green space to the rest of the city, it encourages
activity and experiences for recreation and health, education and conservation, which serve as the guiding principles for the Park Foundation. Its proximity to Gray’s Lake, downtown Des Moines, and several neighborhoods expands usable urban green space for area workers and the growing number of downtown area residents, alleviating the overcrowding of adjoining 170-acre Gray’s Lake Park.

Water Works Park is owned and operated by Des Moines Water Works, and at 1,500 acres, it is one of the largest urban park in the country and about twice the size of New York City’s Central Park. The Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation is a separate entity, a Private Non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, charged with implementing the Water Works Park master plan through phasing, fundraising and enhanced programming to encourage more purposeful interaction with Water Works Park and the story of clean water.

For more information, visit Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation’s website: www.dmwwpf.org or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , Posted in Parks May 9, 2016

Natural Denitrification Wetland Pilot Project

During 2015, Des Moines Water Works operated the Nitrate Removal Facility for a record-setting 177 days, eclipsing the previous record of 106 days set in 1999. The Nitrate Removal Facility is used to reduce source water nitrate concentrations to below 10 mg/L, a level established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for our 500,000 central Iowa customers.

Des Moines Water Works has been working with a consultant to evaluate nitrate trends in the raw water sources. These trends indicate that nitrate concentrations will continually increase without regulation upstream, reaching levels where the existing Nitrate Removal Facility will be unable to provide sufficient removal to meet the EPA’s drinking water standards.

In an attempt to evaluate alternative nitrate removal technologies, Des Moines Water Works is constructing a pilot wetland in 2016. This pilot project will be a one acre surface flow wetland located in Water Works Park. The pilot will be used to test the efficiency of nitrate removal through natural processes. Testing of the pilot will help staff understand how a full scale wetland would react to changes in temperature and flood events, along with any other water quality concerns.

Pilot wetland under construction in Water Works Park

In late April, DMWW staff planted 20,000 cattails and bulrush plants in the pilot wetland area.

If successful, Des Moines Water Works will consider converting a large portion (up to 80-acres) of Water Works Park into constructed wetlands, with the goal of providing natural denitrification, and ultimately protecting the health of our customers.

The consultant is also recommending several nitrate removal measures, including expansion of the current ion exchange denitrification facility. The funds needed for nitrate mitigation in the recently announced five year capital improvement plan total $70 million. An additional $10 million will be needed beyond the five year outlook, for a total of $80 million in infrastructure investments in order to meet the safe drinking water standard for nitrate.

 

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , , Posted in Parks, Source Water, Water Quality January 21, 2016

Trumpeter Swan Soiree at Maffitt Reservoir

Trumpeter SwanTrumpeter swans were once common in Iowa, but were gone from the state by the late 1880s.  By the early 1930s, only 69 Trumpeter Swans remained in the lower 48 states.  As the largest North American waterfowl, these magnificent all-white birds can weigh up to 32 pounds with an 8-foot wingspan. Public support is vital in restoring Trumpeter Swans to Iowa.

The public is invited to a Trumpeter Swan Soiree at the Des Moines Water Works’ Dale Maffitt Reservoir and at Walnut Woods State Park lodge on Saturday, January 30.  Dale Maffitt Reservoir is located on the southwest edge of Des Moines Des Moines metro area.  From the intersection of I-35 and Hwy #5; travel 1.5 miles east to South 35th Street (exit 201), travel 1/8th mile south on South 35th Street, then 2 miles west on Maffitt Lake Road, Dale Maffitt Reservoir is located on the south side of the road.  https://goo.gl/maps/w9CJ8xyrqbQ2

There will be opportunities to view the Trumpeter Swans through spotting scopes and witness random swan feeding and flying sessions at the Dale Maffitt Reservoir.  Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Polk and Dallas County Conservation staff will be giving ten-minute outdoor presentations every half-hour beginning at 10:30 until 1:30 p.m.  Hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies, grilled hot dogs and other snacks will be provided free of charge with donations accepted for swan care.

Programs will also be given indoors at the Walnut Woods State Park lodge beginning at 10:30 a.m. Snacks and drinks will be available. Des Moines Water Works will present, “Trumpeting the Cause: Water Quality in Iowa,” at 11:30 a.m.   For a complete list of programs, visit http://www.iowadnr.gov/About-DNR/DNR-News-Releases/ArticleID/391/Trumpeter-Swan-Soiree-in-Polk-County-Jan-30.

This event is being sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Polk and Dallas County Conservation Boards, Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines Parks and Recreation, Walnut Woods State Park, Trumpeter Swan Society, Blank Park Zoo, Christian Photo and Keller Williams Realty.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Maffitt Reservoir, Parks November 23, 2015

Water Works Memorial Contributions

Fountain and purple flowersFishing in the ponds, picnicking under the Arie den Boer Arboretum crabapple blossoms, hiking in Denman Woods or horseback riding along the bridle trails – just as Water Works Park offers a perfect setting for a variety of activities, so too can it serve as a perfect gift for a variety of occasions.

A memorial gift to the urban forest within Water Works Park is a unique and thoughtful way to honor a loved one, celebrate weddings, anniversaries, graduations, or just to let someone know you’re thinking of them. Your tax-deductible gift will help maintain and sustain Water Works Park as one of America’s largest urban parks for the enjoyment of all – now and for future generations.

There are two categories of gifts to the urban forest within Water Works Park: Tribute Gift (in honor/memory of) and Donation Gift (general contribution). Tribute recipients or their families will receive a customized acknowledgment card, without reference to amount, to notify them of your gift. All donors and tribute recipients will be recognized on our website, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

Making a tribute or donation gift to Water Works Park is easy. Visit www.dmww.com/parks-events/memorial-contributions and use the online form or download a printable form to fill out and mail with contribution.  For additional information, please contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8702.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Parks May 19, 2015

LAUNCH Your Summer at Water Works Park

LAUNCH_logo_CMYKThe public is invited to LAUNCH, a new, annual and FREE event aimed at drawing new and current users into Water Works Park to explore its many recreational opportunities. Join us at Water Works Park on Saturday, May 30, from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. for multiple activities that engage you in the park, including canoeing, an art installation on the river, music, food trucks and craft beer, bike trail expeditions, soccer clinics, hiking, bike valet and much more.

The event launches two major regional efforts celebrating our rivers: the launch of a regional water trails plan and the implementation of the Water Works Park Master Plan.

The event features a riverside unveiling of a new, temporary public art installation by New York-based artist Mary Mattingly that calls attention to the joy of reconnecting to our waterways. The featured speaker will be Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp at 1:00 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Scheels, MidAmerican Energy, and Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation. The public art work is sponsored by Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, the Iowa Arts Council and the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Visit www.dmwwpf.org for more details.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Parks May 12, 2015

Benefits from Water Works Park’s Urban Forest

Water Works ParkAlthough many of us know Water Works Park as a natural playground for people and animals, the Park’s primary mission is to serve as the first water source for Des Moines Water Works in meeting the drinking water needs of 500,000 central Iowans. To do that, Des Moines Water Works’ forefathers had the insight to acquire land upstream of the Raccoon River to protect its water source. Today, Des Moines Water Works staff maintains a large urban forest that makes up the 1,500 acres of Water Works Park.

Urban forests play an important role in supporting and improving the ecology in urban areas. A tree’s shade and beauty contributes to the community’s quality of life and softens the often hard appearance of streetscapes and urban landscapes. Public trees, when properly maintained, provide economic, environmental, and social benefits, including temperature moderation, reduction of air pollutants, energy conservation, and increased property values.

A recently completed inventory of the urban forest in Water Works Park is the first phase of a multi-year effort led by Tree Des Moines to assess the health of trees along capital city streets and parklands.

The recent assessment, conducted by Davey Resource Group, included trees, stumps and planting sites within the mowed and manicured areas of Water Works Park. Collectively, the trees included in the assessment have an appraised value of $6,227,597, and provide environmental benefits valued at nearly $370,000 a year.

“The results of the Water Works inventory show just how much value trees add to our city and neighborhoods,” said CJ Stephens, president of Tree Des Moines, a volunteer-driven nonprofit dedicated to protecting and expanding the urban forest. “This proves that every dollar we invest in our urban forest is money that comes back to us in so many critically important ways, both economic and environmental.”

The inventory outcomes are important, and implementation of the maintenance recommendations will enhance public safety and the benefits trees provide to the community.

The recently completed tree inventory is a key-planning tool that will help Des Moines Water Works establish a data-driven program for tree care, and aid in more accurately determining budget, staff, and equipment needs.

The partnership with Tree Des Moines also comes at a pivotal time for Water Works Park.

“Through Trees Des Moines’ leadership, Davey Resources performed a professionally assessed and digitized collection of data involving our Parks’ publically enjoyed trees,” Bill Stowe, Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager, said. “This asset inventory for a cornerstone of the Water Works Park is particularly timely given our interest in better managing all aspects of Water Works Park, and working with the Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation in realizing the Master Plan to drive Water Works Parks’ future improvements.”

Tree inventories are about more than simply counting trees. As Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie points out.

“The City of Des Moines, along with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and environmental experts at Iowa State University, agree that a tree inventory is essential in moving forward with plan to maximize Des Moines’ tree resources through proper management,” said Cownie.

The assessments provide detailed information about species, health, and maintenance needs, among other information. A tree inventory is also needed to help Des Moines combat current threats to forestry health such as emerald ash borer, oak wilt and bur oak blight. Over the next few years, these threats are expected to significantly reduce Des Moines’ tree canopy, which carries implications for quality of life in the city’s neighborhoods.

“The Water Works Park inventory proves it is worthwhile to keep pushing ahead with plans to inventory city-owned trees in Des Moines,” Stephens said. “Trees are vital green infrastructure, and knowing more about what we have in Des Moines will help us do a much better job of managing the resources well into the future.”

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Environment, Green Initiatives, Parks April 7, 2015

Maffitt Reservoir Boat Permits

Maffitt Lake shorelineLast year, over 200 canoe, kayak and paddleboard enthusiasts enjoyed the beautiful water and views at Maffitt Reservoir and Park. Interested users must purchase an annual permit to launch their watercraft at Maffitt Reservoir. The annual boat permit can be purchased for $20.00 at Des Moines Water Works’ General Office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines. No motors or sails of any kind are allowed, which helps ensure the lake remains a high quality water source for the area’s drinking water supply.

Dale Maffitt Reservoir is a 200-acre lake that sits amongst the tall oaks overlooking Des Moines Water Works’ L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant. The lake, primarily located in Polk County, also has corners that reach into Warren, Dallas and Madison Counties. The reservoir was constructed in the early 1940s, as a backup water source and named in honor of then General Manager of Des Moines Water Works,Dale Maffitt. In 2000, Des Moines Water Works began operating the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir in an effort to produce enough water for Des Moines and surrounding areas’ growing
population. For decades, nature lovers and anglers have enjoyed the serenity of the lake, as ducks, geese, river otter and a multitude of fish species call it home.

Park hours are 7:00 am-8:00 pm (Standard Time) and 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Daylight Savings Time). Take Army Post Road west, across Interstate 35 and follow the signs.

For more information on the use of canoes, kayaks and paddleboards on Maffitt Reservoir, please contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700 or visit www.dmww.com/parks-events/maffitt-reservoir.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 2 Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customers, Maffitt Reservoir, Parks April 14, 2014

Boat Permits Available for Maffitt Reservoir

Maffitt Lake shoreline

For the second year, Des Moines Water Works is allowing the use of canoes and kayaks at Maffitt Reservoir. Last year, over 270 canoe and kayak enthusiasts enjoyed the beautiful water and views at Maffitt Reservoir and Park. New this year, stand-up paddleboards will be allowed on the lake as well.

Canoe, kayak and paddleboards users must purchase an annual permit to launch their watercraft at Maffitt Reservoir. The annual boat permit can be purchased for $20.00 at Des Moines Water Works’ General Office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines. No motors or sails of any kind will be allowed, which will help ensure the lake remains a high quality water source for the area’s drinking water supply.

Dale Maffitt Reservoir is a 200-acre lake that sits amongst the tall oaks overlooking Des Moines Water Works’ L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant. The lake, primarily located in Polk County, also has corners that reach into Warren, Dallas and Madison Counties. The reservoir was constructed in the early 1940s, as a backup water source and named in honor of then General Manager of Des Moines Water Works,Dale Maffitt. In 2000, Des Moines Water Works began operating the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir in effort to produce enough water for Des Moines and surrounding areas’ growing population. For decades, nature lovers and anglers have enjoyed the serenity of the lake, as ducks, geese, river otter and a multitude of fish species call it home.

Park hours are 7:00 am-8:00 pm (Standard Time) and 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Daylight Savings Time). Take Army Post Road west, across Interstate 35 and follow the signs.

For more information on the use of canoes, kayaks and paddleboards on Maffitt Reservoir, please contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Maffitt Reservoir, Parks January 24, 2014

Changes in the Works: Public Open House for Water Works Park Master Plan

1Des Moines Water Works invites the public to see the changes in the works for one of the largest urban parks in the nation.  A public open house for the Water Works Park Master Plan will be held on January 29, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Des Moines Art Center, located at 4700 Grand Avenue in Des Moines. A brief presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Des Moines Water Works operates Water Works Park, a 1,500-acre urban park in the heart of Des Moines, and a major component of the city’s open space system and trail network. The park is also home to Arie den Boer Arboretum, one of the world’s largest collections of flowering crab apple trees. Water Works Park is bisected by the Raccoon River and a three mile long infiltration gallery, major sources of drinking water for the Des Moines metro area.

Des Moines Water Works, in collaboration with Iowa State University Department of Landscape Architecture, hosted an international design competition in 2011 to reinvent Water Works Park.  Sasaki Associates, with RDG Planning & Design and Applied Ecological Services, was selected as the design competition winner out of 44 proposals.  The Master Plan process included public outreach and community involvement.

“Finalizing and presenting the Master Plan is a significant step toward re-envisioning and renovating Water Works Park into an education and recreation destination,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works. “The Master Plan highlights opportunities for education and emphasizes the role water plays in the community, as well as incorporates additional recreational features throughout the park.”

Funding for the Master Plan was provided through generous community support. Grants and funds totaling $165,000 were received from the Allied Construction Services, Bankers Trust, CDS Global, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Leadership Circle, Gray’s Lake Park & Meredith Trail Fund, Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Merchants Bonding Company, Polk County and The Principal Financial Group.  Donations from private donors total an additional $35,000.

A Water Works Park foundation is being established to coordinate fundraising and implementation of the Master Plan. Implementation of the Master Plan could begin early in 2014.

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Labels: , , , Posted in Parks