Walnut Creek Watershed

Walnut Creek and its tributaries traverse 97 miles and drain 53,000 acres in Dallas and Polk Counties. Over half of the watershed is rural/agriculture and the rest is urban. This figure is changing rapidly.

The watershed includes Des Moines, Clive, Dallas Center, Dallas County, Grimes, Johnston, Polk County, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights.

Walnut Creek Watershed is one of the most critical watersheds in Iowa. The Des Moines Water Works intake valve is located one mile downstream from where Walnut Creek empties into the Raccoon River. Consequently, this watershed is a source of drinking water for 500,000 residents in Dallas, Polk, and Warren Counties.

Walnut Creek Watershed map

On September 8, 2016, the Clive City Council became the first community to approve the Walnut Creek Management Authority’s Watershed Master Plan. The comprehensive document outlines six approaches to address stormwater management and soil health within the watershed located in the western suburbs of Des Moines. The six approaches address water quality improvements, enhance recreation, public health restoration and access/connections; enriched conservation education programming and multi-purpose projects to sustain natural resources and public/economic health.

The Walnut Creek Management Authority (WMA) was created in 2014 through an inter-governmental agreement between Polk County and the Cities of Clive, Dallas Center, Des Moines, Grimes, Johnston, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights as well as the Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District and Dallas County Soil and Water Conservation District. The WMA was created for the purpose of leveraging the benefits of a watershed scale approach to managing water quality and water quantity concerns.

The WMA received a $123,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to develop the watershed plan. The 18-month planning process was led by RDG Planning & Design and included active participation from a broad coalition of regional stakeholders comprised of local municipalities, business leaders, agricultural producers, environmental groups, utility providers and private citizens.

Walnut Creek Watershed Plan Overview (Click for 2-page .pdf file)

Walnut Creek Watershed Master Plan (Click for 255-page .pdf file)

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