WAYZATA — All the precipitation the area has gotten this year means it will be slow going on some areas of Lake Minnetonka.

A high water declaration went into effect at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 31. This means there will be a no wake zone in some areas of the lake. 

"Reducing boat speeds to 5 mph will help minimize erosion of shorelines, damage to structures, and protect the public from possible accidents," the LMCD said in a May 30 Facebook post. 

The expanded no wake zone does not cover the entire lake, but includes within 600 feet of the shore and specific bays. Those bays are: 

  • Big Island Passage
  • Black Lake
  • Carsons Bay
  • Coffee Cove
  • Emerald Lake
  • Excelsior Bay
  • Forest Lake
  • Grays Bay
  • Jennings Bay
  • Libbs Lake
  • Priests Bay
  • Robinsons Bay
  • St. Albans Bay
  • St. Louis Bay
  • Seton Lake
  • Stubbs Bay
  • Tanager Lake

LMCD Executive Director Vickie Schleuning told Lakeshore Weekly News the LMCD does not know when the no wake zone will be cleared, but depending on weather conditions in the area and across the state, it could be in place up to a month.

News conference

Hennepin County and LMCD held a news conference on Friday, May 31, to speak about the high water restrictions. Hennepin County Capt. Steve Labatt they do expect to see some boaters not complying with the no wake areas and they will be enforcing primarily with verbal warnings, but noted repeat offenders will be fined.

Updates about high water restrictions will be posted to the LMCD's website, Schleuning said, including when the restrictions will be cleared. She explained that LMCD is monitoring the water levels with help from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, which measures water levels daily.

Schleuning emphasized lake users can still have a fun summer and that the restrictions are about protecting boaters, sewer lines, docks and the shoreline.

Excessive rainfall

In a tweet on May 28, the National Weather Service in Chanhassen said the Twin Cities have picked up 15.61 inches of precipitation between Jan. 1 and May 27, which is the third most on record (record keeping began in 1871).

Lake Minnetonka is flowing over the emergency spillway at the Minnehaha Creek headwaters, where the lake is about 2 inches higher than the spillway elevation, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District said in a release. When this happens, Gray’s Bay Dam cannot control discharge from Lake Minnetonka into Minnehaha Creek.

Other area lakes

High water declarations have been declared on other lakes in the area. Restrictions include:

  • Long Lake: Slow-no wake restrictions went into effect on Long Lake on May 29, according to a post on the city's Facebook page. Restrictions went into effect for the lake because spring rain raised water levels above 945 feet and remained at that level for at least three consecutive days.
  • Lake Independence: No-wake restrictions went into effect on Lake Independence last week. Medina city code requires the city to enforce a no-wake restriction on the lake when water levels have been higher than 957.8 feet above sea level for at least three consecutive days. 
  • Medicine Lake: The slow-no wake rule went into effect for Medicine Lake on Thursday, May 30. According to the city of Plymouth, slow-no wake speeds are implemented when the water level exceeds 889.4 feet for three consecutive days. The restriction will be dropped when the lake level drops to 889.4 feet or below for three consecutive days.

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