LT Leon Associates Inc.

Universal Boat Launch


des moines, ia


  • Hydraulic Modeling
  • River Restoration
  • Planning and Design
  • Permitting and Regulatory Compliance 

service Area:

  • Parks & Recreation
  • Water Resources
    • River Restoration
  • Transportation
    • Trails - Pedestrian, Bicycle, Water

Market Sector:

  • State
  • Local Agencies



Des Moines Water Works Park is a 1,500 acre park located in the urban core of Des Moines along the Raccoon River.  The park provides vast greenspace and natural areas, critical habitat, and access to an emerging greenway system.  Des Moines Water Works completed a master plan for the park in 2014.  Key outcomes from the master plan include: provide access to the river, develop outdoor recreation opportunities, improve water quality, and develop greenways in a sustainable manner.  One of the first projects that will fulfill these outcomes, through funding assistance from the Iowa DNR and private donations, the Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation is developing a universal access paddler launch within the park.

LT Leon is working with the Iowa DNR, the Park Foundation, and Des Moines Water Works to develop conceptual, preliminary, and final design documents for the universal launch.  Multiple concepts were developed for various configurations and multiple levels of build out for the site.  The design follows guidelines in the Developing Water Trails in Iowa manual (Iowa DNR).  The approved concept includes twenty parking stalls, trailer parking, future parking, a boat ramp that accommodates paddlers and motor boats, an accessible trail connecting the parking lot to the river’s edge, streambank improvements, and in-river habitat features.  The streambank improvements include peeling back dangerous vertical banks to provide a flat bankfull bench, toe protection with derrick stones and riprap, and native vegetation.  Rock vanes are proposed in-stream to direct the thalweg away from the streambank, provide fishing access, and provide pocket habitat.    

LT Leon is developing hydraulics to show no-rise in the 100-year flood elevation, and preparing cost estimates.