Anglers, boaters and anyone who recreates on or near areas where recent rainfall has raised water levels should exercise extreme caution – or stay away altogether until the water recedes, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Lakes and rivers in several counties throughout the state currently have no-wake restrictions due to high water, and conservation officers recommend boaters stay off flooded portions of the Minnesota River and its tributaries.
As of earlier this week, for example, docks were underwater on many lakes in the St. Peter area, parks and boat landings along the Minnesota River were underwater, and no-wake regulations were in effect on portions of the St. Croix River. In addition to inundating river banks, the recent rainfall has downed trees and swept natural and man-made objects into the water, creating hazards for boaters, swimmers and others. High water also can cover obstructions such as concrete pilings that boaters might not see until it’s too late.
“The amount of water flowing through many river systems right now means the current is fast, strong and unpredictable, which can be problematic even for experienced paddler and swimmers,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator. “People should avoid places where there’s a high-water alert and keep in mind that wearing a life jacket provides the best chance of surviving a fall into dangerous water.”
In addition, people should tell someone where they will be and when they plan to return.
Updated river level reports for Minnesota are at mndnr.gov/river_levels. However, people should be aware that conditions can change quickly. For more information on the state’s 35 water trails, see mndnr.gov/watertrails.