IPR: Could Whitewater Trails in Downtown Des Moines Help Change the State’s Course on Water Quality?

A plan to make whitewater trails on the rivers in downtown Des Moines is about more than tourism. Supporters of the project say they also have water quality in mind.
In downtown Des Moines, the Raccoon flows into the Des Moines River and then immediately runs into an obstacle — the Scott Street dam.

It’s a hotspot for fishermen who drop lines over the railing of the bridge above it into the water below, but there are also signs around the area warning people about going in the water because lowhead dams like this create a deadly undertow.

A heavy construction crane on the water is a sign the area is in for a change.

“In central Iowa alone we have 150 miles of waterways, but we’re really disconnected because of the lowhead dams,” said Hannah Inman, CEO of the Great Outdoors Foundation which helped launch a project called ICON — or the Iowa Confluence Water Trails.

To read the full article, visit Iowa Public Radio.

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