Located along the Des Moines River in Iowa, the Saylorville dam is located directly upstream from the City of Des Moines, and Lake Red Rock dam is approximately 50 miles downstream. The Corps dams provide flood risk reduction as well as recreation, water supply, drought management, and fish & wildlife management.
The Des Moines River Sustainable Rivers Project is designed to identify environmental flow requirements for the Des Moines River and implement alternative water management strategies that establishes more natural flow regimes and reservoir conditions for aquatic-dependent species. Since 2015, the Corps and Conservancy has collaborated with diverse stakeholders and hosted science workshops to determine ecological flow needs for the Des Moines River. Several SRP measures have been incorporated into the Des Moines River Master Water Control Manual. Those measures permit water managers and biologists the flexibility to adaptively manage the dams to meet the ecological needs of the Des Moines River.
SRP has expanded its influence within the Des Moines River watershed by focusing on environmental water management, restoring floodplain oxbows, and creating watershed conservation tools to identify practices that reduce sediment and nutrient loading into streams and lakes. Please engage with us further on these topics by exploring the interactive story maps on the Des Moines River SRP link and the Watershed Resilience link.
The goal of the project is to manage for a more “naturalized” flow regime where possible and implement environmental flows for purposes that would benefit aquatic ecosystems. Restoring some aspects of the natural flow regime would be expected to benefit numerous species, including several ancient river fishes, such as paddlefish, shovelnose and lake sturgeon, as well as floodplain plant communities and terrestrial wildlife