Scott Street Dam

River/Stream: Des Moines River

Location: at confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers in Des Moines, Polk County
        Latitude: 41.5795094420321
        Longitude: -93.6116664166976
        Click here to view an aerial map of the dam.

Built: 1938

Owner: City of Des Moines

Height: 5 feet

Length: 440 feet

Hazards: drowning, urban, portage, varying, visibility

Warning Signs: dam warning signs on every arch - both Scott Street and River Street pedestrian bridges. Also, every arch of the River Street pedestrian bridge has rescue lines down to the river attached to orange buoys. Additional signs warn bridge pedestrians of dam danger.


Comments: the dam is not visible in aerial photographs (e.g. Google maps) because it is obscured by the bridge over it.

Paddle craft not allowed in the area between the Center Street and Scott Street dams.

Fatalities 4

  • May 29, 2017 - Ronald Weaver drifted into current with unpowered boat
  • July 4, 2007 - swimmer Franco Ventura
  • August 10, 2002 - kayaker Steven Nourse
  • June 15, 1952, Mary Arzetta Jones, wading

Close call on July 29, 2019: unnamed couple rescued after inflatable raft flipped in boil

Close call on July 8, 2007: rafters Joseph Wanek & Rachel Treptow rescued

View of dam horizon line

Upstream view of dam horizon line

Looking downstream over dam horizon line

Looking upstream at dam underneath the bridge

Closer upstream look at dam

Closer upstream look at dam