Water levels in Lake Minnetonka, Minnehaha Creek slowly recede

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 18, 2014 - 8:26 PM
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[ MARK VANCLEAVE * mark.vancleave@startribune.com * WX062014 * 262621 Heavy rain caused flooding along Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis on Thursday, Jun 19, 2014. rain weather minneapolis storm flood minnesota ] Craig Susag and his grandson Nethaniel cross a flooded bridge over Minnehaha Creek in Minnehaha Park. ORG XMIT: MIN1406192256191430

Minnehaha Creek is slowly receding from June’s record levels, but at a rate slower than experts had predicted.

It may not be until mid- to late August before the creek and Lake Minnetonka, which flows into the creek, reaches normal levels after the wettest June in Minnesota history. That means paddling on the creek and boating on the lake will continue to be restricted until August.

“We’re going in the right direction but not fast enough,” said Telly Mamayek, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District spokeswoman.

On Thursday, the Watershed District postponed its annual creek cleanup for a second time. The event, which was scheduled for late June and postponed until late July, will now be Sept. 7 because the creek remains outside its banks in several areas, making it dangerous for volunteers. For more details, go to www.minnehahacreek.org/cleanup.

On Wednesday, Lake Minnetonka dropped below the previous record level after 35 days, reaching 930.5 feet above sea level. That’s more than 7 inches below the record 931.11 set June 23, but it’s still flowing over the spillway of Grays Bay Dam, above the 930 foot level for discharging water.

Since June 5, the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District has had no-wake boating restrictions on the entire lake, slowing boat traffic and lake business. And since May 21, it’s been unsafe for paddling the 22-mile creek, which flows from the lake to the Mississippi River through Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Edina and Minneapolis.

The Watershed District continues to recommend paddlers stay off the creek. On Thursday, the creek was flowing at 321 cubic feet per second at McGinty Road. Anything over 150 cubic feet per second is deemed too dangerous due to high, fast-moving water, downed trees and other debris.

KELLY SMITH

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