Jan 31, 2023 - News

Downtown Des Moines project will cut 150 trees

A photo of a tree.

Eagles frequently roost in trees near the Scott Avenue dam but they don’t have nests in any that will be cut in coming weeks. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

About 150 trees are being removed near downtown Des Moines' Scott Avenue dam for a project that begins next week, Hannah Inman, CEO of Iowa Confluence Water Trails (ICON), tells Axios.

Catch up fast: ICON is a broad $125 million plan to improve recreation along more than 150 miles of rivers and creeks in Central Iowa.

  • Dam modifications, including the tree removal, are intended to allow boaters to safely pass.

Zoom in: The Scott Avenue project also includes a new fish passage and about 1,500 feet of riverbank that will be graded to provide recreation and fishing access.

State of play: The trees are located on three acres along the DSM River, just south of the dam.

  • They must be removed by the end of March to avoid impacts to a federally protected bat species that may inhabit the trees starting in the spring.
  • The overall project is expected to be completed in 2025.

🦅 The intrigue: The area, just south of Principal Park, is a common spot for eagles.

  • There are no nests within the clearing limits, Inman says.
A photo of tree stumps.
Dozens of trees were also removed last year at DSM's Prospect Park for the ICON project. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

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