Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Sees Low Flood Potential on Lake Minnetonka With a Current Below Average Lake Level of Almost One Foot

Potential for Flooding on Minnehaha Creek Dependent on Upcoming Rainfall

Amounts & Rate of Snow Melt, Says New Report



Apr 02, 2001, 01:00 ET from Minnehaha Creek Watershed District

    NAVARRE, Minn., April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Lake Minnetonka water levels
 report from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) indicates -- for the
 moment -- sufficient Lake capacity to prevent flooding at Lake Minnetonka and
 downstream along Minnehaha Creek, providing spring rainfall amounts remain
 average and the current snowmelt rate remains steady.
     The report, "Assessment of Flooding Risk for 2001 Based on Current
 Conditions," was created for MCWD by one of its chief engineering consulting
 firms, Wenck Associates, Inc., and is available electronically at
 http://www.minnehahacreek.org , complete with a historical Lake Minnetonka
 Elevation History, Gray's Bay Dam Operational Plan for Discharges as Required
 by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
     Lake Minnetonka's lake level is the determinant factor in opening the dam
 at Gray's Bay to allow for a water discharge into Minnehaha Creek. Minnehaha
 Creek originates at Lake Minnetonka and runs easterly through the area suburbs
 of Minnetonka, Edina, Hopkins, and St. Louis Park and is in contact with the
 Chain of Lakes and other lakes in Minneapolis before draining into the
 Mississippi River at Minnehaha Falls. Gray's Bay Dam was closed September 21,
 1999, and remains legally closed until Lake Minnetonka reaches 928.6 feet. The
 lake is currently at 927.91 feet.
     "We've had dry conditions during the winter of 1999 and spring of 2000
 which resulted in below average water levels throughout the entire Minnehaha
 Creek Watershed District," says Eric Evenson, MCWD Administrator. "Some parts
 of the Creek were, in fact, completely dry at the end of last summer. But with
 this year's near-average snowfall and the steady, slow rate of snowmelt, we
 are hoping that flood risks will be minimal as long as we get our average
 spring rains, with no heavy downpours, which could challenge the watershed
 system along the Creek."
     According to Project Engineer Rebecca Kluckhohn of Wenck Associates, the
 main causes for spring flooding are:
 
     -- High water levels on Lake Minnetonka in early spring
     -- Normal-to-above-average winter precipitation
     -- Fast spring snow melt
     -- Heavy spring rains
     -- High soil moisture
 
     "Lake Minnetonka is 0.81-feet below its 30-year average for March and
 0.69-feet below the run out elevation at Gray's Bay Dam," Kluckhohn reports.
 "Preceding dry seasons have resulted in below average water levels throughout
 the watershed district.  This provides increased storage capacity on Lake
 Minnetonka (and throughout the district), which buffers against the effects of
 fast spring melts and above-normal spring rainfall events.
     "Currently Lake Minnetonka has enough capacity to hold runoff from both
 the spring melt and from approximately 10-inches of additional rainfall in the
 upper watershed before any discharge at Gray's Bay Dam will be necessary.
 However, if we receive more than one-inch of rain over the upper watershed
 prior to snowmelt, it 's possible the lake will reach its runout elevation at
 the dam."
     For more than 33 years, MCWD has monitored and investigated the lakes and
 streams that feed Minnehaha Creek across two counties and 29 cities and towns,
 from the upper watershed north and west of Lake Minnetonka to the Lake itself,
 through the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, to Minnehaha Creek and Minnehaha
 Falls. The Minnehaha Creek Watershed, working in partnership with cities,
 townships, and citizen groups, has helped to improve the water quality in most
 of the lakes and streams in the watershed.  Recent lake and wetland
 restoration projects include: Gleason Creek, Long Lake, Painter Creek, Twin
 Lakes/Cedar Lake, Lake Calhoun, Lake Nokomis and others.
     The MCWD designs and builds projects to protect water resources including:
 lake restoration, wetland enhancement, erosion repair, and flood control. The
 District also works with cities, counties, park districts, developers, and
 others within watershed boundaries for compatible and efficient water resource
 management. The autonomous government body is funded by small additions to
 property taxes from those households in the District that benefit from water
 resource management, with occasional interim funding from cities, counties and
 the state. The District is also funded through special levies.
 
     Report with maps & water level graphs available online:
 http://www.minnehahacreek.org
 
 

SOURCE Minnehaha Creek Watershed District
    NAVARRE, Minn., April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Lake Minnetonka water levels
 report from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) indicates -- for the
 moment -- sufficient Lake capacity to prevent flooding at Lake Minnetonka and
 downstream along Minnehaha Creek, providing spring rainfall amounts remain
 average and the current snowmelt rate remains steady.
     The report, "Assessment of Flooding Risk for 2001 Based on Current
 Conditions," was created for MCWD by one of its chief engineering consulting
 firms, Wenck Associates, Inc., and is available electronically at
 http://www.minnehahacreek.org , complete with a historical Lake Minnetonka
 Elevation History, Gray's Bay Dam Operational Plan for Discharges as Required
 by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
     Lake Minnetonka's lake level is the determinant factor in opening the dam
 at Gray's Bay to allow for a water discharge into Minnehaha Creek. Minnehaha
 Creek originates at Lake Minnetonka and runs easterly through the area suburbs
 of Minnetonka, Edina, Hopkins, and St. Louis Park and is in contact with the
 Chain of Lakes and other lakes in Minneapolis before draining into the
 Mississippi River at Minnehaha Falls. Gray's Bay Dam was closed September 21,
 1999, and remains legally closed until Lake Minnetonka reaches 928.6 feet. The
 lake is currently at 927.91 feet.
     "We've had dry conditions during the winter of 1999 and spring of 2000
 which resulted in below average water levels throughout the entire Minnehaha
 Creek Watershed District," says Eric Evenson, MCWD Administrator. "Some parts
 of the Creek were, in fact, completely dry at the end of last summer. But with
 this year's near-average snowfall and the steady, slow rate of snowmelt, we
 are hoping that flood risks will be minimal as long as we get our average
 spring rains, with no heavy downpours, which could challenge the watershed
 system along the Creek."
     According to Project Engineer Rebecca Kluckhohn of Wenck Associates, the
 main causes for spring flooding are:
 
     -- High water levels on Lake Minnetonka in early spring
     -- Normal-to-above-average winter precipitation
     -- Fast spring snow melt
     -- Heavy spring rains
     -- High soil moisture
 
     "Lake Minnetonka is 0.81-feet below its 30-year average for March and
 0.69-feet below the run out elevation at Gray's Bay Dam," Kluckhohn reports.
 "Preceding dry seasons have resulted in below average water levels throughout
 the watershed district.  This provides increased storage capacity on Lake
 Minnetonka (and throughout the district), which buffers against the effects of
 fast spring melts and above-normal spring rainfall events.
     "Currently Lake Minnetonka has enough capacity to hold runoff from both
 the spring melt and from approximately 10-inches of additional rainfall in the
 upper watershed before any discharge at Gray's Bay Dam will be necessary.
 However, if we receive more than one-inch of rain over the upper watershed
 prior to snowmelt, it 's possible the lake will reach its runout elevation at
 the dam."
     For more than 33 years, MCWD has monitored and investigated the lakes and
 streams that feed Minnehaha Creek across two counties and 29 cities and towns,
 from the upper watershed north and west of Lake Minnetonka to the Lake itself,
 through the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, to Minnehaha Creek and Minnehaha
 Falls. The Minnehaha Creek Watershed, working in partnership with cities,
 townships, and citizen groups, has helped to improve the water quality in most
 of the lakes and streams in the watershed.  Recent lake and wetland
 restoration projects include: Gleason Creek, Long Lake, Painter Creek, Twin
 Lakes/Cedar Lake, Lake Calhoun, Lake Nokomis and others.
     The MCWD designs and builds projects to protect water resources including:
 lake restoration, wetland enhancement, erosion repair, and flood control. The
 District also works with cities, counties, park districts, developers, and
 others within watershed boundaries for compatible and efficient water resource
 management. The autonomous government body is funded by small additions to
 property taxes from those households in the District that benefit from water
 resource management, with occasional interim funding from cities, counties and
 the state. The District is also funded through special levies.
 
     Report with maps & water level graphs available online:
 http://www.minnehahacreek.org
 
 SOURCE  Minnehaha Creek Watershed District