Friday, March 27, 2009

Slow no-wake boating restriction in effect on St. Croix River

(Minnesota) With spring snow melt and recent precipitation, water levels on the St. Croix River are projected to rise to the point where any early boaters will be required to slow down to minimize shoreline damage.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expects that boats will be required to operate at slow no-wake speeds on the St. Croix between Taylors Falls and Prescott by Friday.

“With ice still covering parts of the St. Croix, one wouldn’t expect too many boaters,” said DNR river hydrologist Molly Shodeen. “But where there’s open water, some folks may be anxious to get out, and we want them to be aware of the restrictions.”

The special restriction, authorized by state rules in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, is triggered when the level on the St. Croix reaches 683 feet above sea level at Stillwater. Boaters should consult the National Weather Service Web site for the latest updates on current and projected water levels.

Officials from Wisconsin, Minnesota and the National Park Service will post signs regarding the slow no-wake requirement at all public accesses, and marina operators have been notified. The rule is aimed at reducing shoreline erosion and resulting property damage in areas not usually susceptible to wave action at lower water levels.

The slow no-wake rule will remain in effect until the water level again recedes below the 683-foot level. Boat and water safety officials at the DNR also point out that high-running rivers often contain debris floating just below the surface that can pose serious hazards. Boaters should slow down and exercise extra caution in such conditions.

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