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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Public Affairs Office
332 Minnesota St., Suite E1500
St. Paul, MN 55101

Phone: (651) 290-5807
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Corps of Engineers’ reservoirs rising rapidly, caution urged near water

Published June 20, 2012
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, expects reservoirs in northern Minnesota to rise due to the recent rain within the region and advises residents to use caution around the water.

Corps’ staff is monitoring the situation on the reservoirs and making necessary adjustments to reduce the flood risks to local communities. The Corps encourages property owners to move any boat lifts, docks, etc., to higher ground.

Status of the Corps’ reservoirs:
Big Sandy Lake, located just north of McGregor, Minn., will rise 2 to 3 feet in the next few days. The area received 5 inches of rain from June 19 to June 20. The lake elevation is expected to reach somewhere between 1,220 and 1,221 feet. On June 5, Sandy crested just below 1,219 feet.

Pokegama Lake, near Grand Rapids, Minn., rose more than 0.7 feet from yesterday and continues to rise. It is currently 0.8 feet above the center of the summer operating level and is expected to rise an additional 2 to 3 feet. The current elevation is 1,274.2 feet. The area received 3.85 inches of rain from June 19 to 20. The National Weather Service issued flood warnings in Aitkin, Minn., with a forecasted crest of 20.5 feet on Saturday, June 23.

Pokegama Lake is a flood control reservoir and is now being operated in order to provide flood control storage for downstream needs. What this means is that the current from the dam is being decreased to alleviate some downstream flooding. As the flow is decreased, the lake level will continue to rise. It is very possible the reservoir could rise to between elevation 1,276 and 1,277 feet during the next several days.

Gull Lake, located 10 miles northwest of Brainerd, Minn., is currently at elevation 1,194.4 feet with the dam open. The area received 2.96 inches in the last three days. On May 30, the lake crested at elevation 1,195.09 feet in response to an 8 inch rainfall. The Corps is monitoring the level and will adjust the dam’s water releases as needed, but the lake is not expected to rise to the level experienced on May 30.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, serves the American public in the areas of environmental enhancement, navigation, flood damage reduction, water and wetlands regulation, recreation sites and disaster response. It contributes around $175 million to the five-state district economy. The 700 employees work at more than 40 sites in five upper-Midwest states. For more information, see


Release no. 12-069