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Aerial image of Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam

Mississippi River Headwaters reservoirs winter drawdown update

Published March 3, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn. –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, continues to lower water elevations within its six Mississippi River Headwaters reservoirs in anticipation of spring snow melt.

All elevations given using National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929.

The Corps has completed the winter drawdown of Gull Lake, located near Brainerd, Minnesota; Cross Lake, near Crosslake, Minnesota; and Big Sandy Lake, near McGregor, Minnesota.

Gull Lake, is currently at an elevation of 1,193.13 feet, and outflow is at 224 cubic feet per second, or cfs.

Cross Lake is currently at 1,227.37 feet and outflow is at 276 cfs.

Big Sandy Lake is at 1,214.38 feet and outflow is at 164 cfs.

The pool elevation at Pokegama Lake, near Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is approximately 1,272.09 feet and outflow is at 2,400 cfs. The gates at this dam are open, however, obstruction by ice or something similar has been slowing the process down. The drawdown target elevation is 1,270.42 feet before the spring melt.

Leech Lake, located near Federal Dam, Minnesota, is currently 1,294.25 feet, with the reservoir drawn down 0.45 feet below normal summer range. Outflow is at 1,040 cfs, which is as high as it can go without downstream impacts. The drawdown target elevation is 1293.80 feet before the spring melt.

Lake Winnibigoshish, near Deer River, Minnesota, is currently 1,297.42 feet, with the reservoir drawn down 0.76 feet below summer range. The drawdown target elevation is 1,296.94 feet before the spring melt. Outflow is at 1,100 cfs.

Late winter snow surveys show an extensive snow pack, with more than enough water content to fill volume created by the winter drawdowns. Property (docks, boat lifts, etc.) at or near the normal summer lake level should be moved to higher elevations to be safe from rising reservoir levels this spring.

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Release no. 20-027