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St. Paul District
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St. Paul, MN 55101
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cemvp-pa@usace.army.mil 

Corps urges caution in the Mississippi River Headwaters during drought

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published July 21, 2021

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, urges boaters to go slow and use caution in lower-than-normal lakes right now. Warm weather and a lack of precipitation has resulted in low water levels. The Corps is closely monitoring lake levels and will adjust outflows as necessary.

Although hazards exist in reservoirs at any elevation, current drought conditions have caused the exposure of even more underwater obstructions. A boater very familiar with a specific lake may find new hazards during low water. Boaters should also be cautious of floating logs or other objects that may show up in previously open water. Residents should monitor water levels in connecting channels, as well as access to docks, boat lifts, boat ramps, etc. In some cases, boats may need to be removed from lifts earlier than normal this year.

The lakes are expected to remain low until substantial and consistent rainfall is received in the area. Water levels can be monitored at https://water.usace.army.mil/. The current lake levels are as follows:

Gull Lake, near Brainerd, Minnesota, is currently at 1,193.7 feet and outflow is at 20 cubic feet per second,
or cfs. When the pool reaches 1,192.75, the outflow will be reduced to 10 cfs.   

Cross Lake, near Crosslake, Minnesota is currently at 1,229.06 feet and outflow is at 30 cfs. When the pool reaches 1,225.32 feet, the outflow will be reduced to 15 cfs. 

Big Sandy Lake, near McGregor, Minnesota, is currently at 1,215.93 feet and outflow is at 20 cfs. When the pool reaches 1,214.31, feet the outflow will be reduced to 10 cfs. 

Pokegama Lake, near Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is currently at 1,273.23 feet and outflow is at 240 cfs. Minimum outflow at Pokegama is the total flow being released from Lake Winnibigoshish and Leech Lake.

Leech Lake, near Federal Dam, Minnesota, is currently at 1,294.15 feet and outflow is at 120 cfs. When the pool reaches 1,292.7 feet, the outflow will be reduced to 60 cfs. 

Lake Winnibigoshish, near Deer River, Minnesota, is currently at 1,297.65 feet and outflow is 100 cfs. When the pool reaches 1,294.94 feet, the outflow will be reduced to 50 cfs.

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Release no. 21-062