When lake water levels are high, extensive damage can occur to the lake shoreline, docks, and other structures due to wakes created by boaters and winds. These conditions may also lead to accidents and injuries for people, pets, and wildlife. To minimize damage to the lake, people, and property, a “High Water Declaration” is put into effect. Enhanced education and monitoring of the minimum wake areas will occur. See the General High Water Declaration Handout for a map and summary of the requirements.
NOTICE: In situations where the water levels are high, but not to the extent of an official High Water Declaration, enhanced monitoring of the general slow wake zones will likely occur. For a map and details of typical slow and minimum wakes areas, see the Summer Rules Brochure.
Water Level Thresholds
High Water Declaration and restrictions are typically implemented as follows:
- Goes into effect when water levels are at or above 930.0 feet for eight consecutive days.
- Goes into effect when water levels are at or above 930.25 feet.
- May be declared when water levels are at or above 930.0 ft for five consecutive days under certain circumstances.
High Water Restrictions typically end as follows:
- When lake water levels fall and remain below 930.0 feet for a period of three consecutive days.
High Water Declaration Restrictions
While Lake Minnetonka remains open to public use and enjoyment, during a High Water Declaration, watercraft operators must adhere to the additional minimum wake restrictions as follows:
- Watercraft must be operated at a speed less than five miles per hour or at a speed that creates more than a Minimum Wake in certain bays and areas.
- Regulated areas are defined as the surface area of the Lake within a distance of 600 feet of the entire shoreline, as well as all of the surface area of specific bays and portions of the Lake as indicated below.
- Minimum Wake means the wake moving out from and trailing behind a watercraft in a widening “V” that is of a size that will not negatively affect other watercraft or be detrimental to the shoreline. It is unlawful for a person to operate a watercraft in regulated areas of Lake Minnetonka at a speed of more than five miles per hour or a speed that results in more than a minimum wake.
Determining Lake Water Levels
The LMCD staff monitors lake water level readings taken by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD), which is charged with mitigating flooding on Lake Minnetonka and the Minnehaha Creek by controlling the operation of the Grays Bay Dam. This process is also coordinated with Minneapolis Park Board and its water level control mechanisms. Find water level readings at www.minnehahacreek.org.
High Water Safety Tips
The following are some safety tips that may be helpful until the water level subsides. Items may change depending on the water level and time frame of high water.
- When wet, some dock materials are slippery, so be careful when walking on wet docks.
- After an extended period, algae and other plants may grow on wet docking and structures, creating potential slipping hazards.
- Watch for floating debris or bogs that may be displaced due to high water.
- Watch for structures and hazards in the lake that may be visible during ordinary high water but are beneath the surface due to higher than normal water levels.
- Make sure docks and other structures are secured to avoid parts floating away and creating hazards or nuisances.
- Check electrical and plumbing connections for safety on the docks and on land.
- Remove any items that may be located on land or shore that could float into and pollute the lake. (Chemicals, batteries, fuel, leaves, brush, floatables, etc.)
- If possible, delay dock installation until the water stabilizes and possibly lowers, so it is at the appropriate heights if the water level decreases.
- Summary When High Water Declared-– Handout
- If you have questions about the regulations, contact LMCD at 952.745.0789 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To request officer assistance or report a violation, contact Hennepin County Water Patrol at 911.