The swelling St. Croix River should fall short of minor flood stage when it peaks Tuesday, but in the meantime a no-wake zone will be enforced for the weekend.
The no-wake zone will go into effect Saturday afternoon when the St. Croix’s elevation exceeds 683 feet, said Sgt. Kyle Schenck of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
The river is expected to crest at 684.5 feet, 2 ½ feet short of the benchmark for minor flooding. The benchmark for major flooding on the St. Croix is 689 feet.
Schenck said the no-wake zone will extend along a 52-mile stretch from Taylors Falls in Chisago County south to where the St. Croix drains into the Mississippi River at Prescott, Wis.
The zone will protect boaters from flood-related hazards such as floating debris and river currents, he said. It also reduces damage to shorelines, levees and islands, all of which are vulnerable to damage from wakes when water is high.
Postings at marinas and public water access points maintained on the river by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will advise that boat operators go no more than 5 miles per hour, Schenck said.
Additional warnings came from the National Park Service, which oversees the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Officials said that boaters should check for updates on the DNR’s website at mndnr.gov/nowake or the Park Service website at nps.gov/sacn/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.
The St. Croix typically floods in the spring, but this fall the river has risen steadily since Oct. 1 after a series of heavy rainfalls.