Welcome to the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District
Our mission is to manage and preserve the water resources of the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District to the best of our ability using input from our communities, sound engineering practices, and our ability to efficiently fund beneficial projects which transcend political jurisdictions.
Spring Lake Outlet Channel Flow
The table below gives approximate flow in cubic feet per second (cfs) coming from Spring Lake and flowing into Prior Lake. To get the most current flow, use the Spring Lake level provided at the top of the PLSLWD home page and compare it to the table to get flow. Flow leaving Prior Lake through the Outlet Structure is at max capacity (approximately 60 cfs) until Prior Lake gets back down to about 903.5’.
Watershed District Office Moved
On Thursday July 10th the Watershed District office moved from it’s current location to the Prior Lake City Hall (4646 Dakota Street SE). The District’s main phone number will remain the same (952-447-4166). Please see contacts for new direct dial numbers for staff.
Sandbagging Spring Lake Outlet
The Watershed District and the City of Prior Lake have received several inquiries regarding restricting the flow of water from Spring Lake to aid in equalizing the level of water in Prior Lake. Any change in the natural course of water requires approval of the state. In 1983 and 1993 the Watershed District was granted permits from the Department of Natural Resources to sand bag the channel between the two lakes. The City of Prior Lake and the Watershed District are researching the impact of sandbagging on Spring Lake. On July 2, the Prior Lake City Council passed a resolution that asked the District to seek authorization for sandbagging the Spring Lake Outlet Weir “to such a height as may be approved without damage to additional public and private property surrounding Spring Lake.” After reviewing preliminary engineered flooding models, on July 8, the Board of Managers voted to support that request. The next step is for the District to finalize the models and supply the necessary paperwork with a permit application to the Department of Natural Resources.
Slow No-Wake Boating Restrictions
The slow-no-wake restrictions are intended to reduce shoreline erosion due to boat wakes during high water (flood) events. Prolonged flood conditions saturate the shoreline soils, increasing the potential for erosion and property damage due to waves from watercraft.
Upper and Lower Prior Lake
Under existing city code, the City Manager is authorized to enact the slow-no-wake restriction when the water level in Upper and Lower Prior Lakes exceeds 904 ft (above sea level). Lake measurements are provided by the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District.
- The restriction remains in place until water level falls below 904 ft for three (3) consecutive days
Due to the prolonged flood conditions and saturated shoreline soils, MN DNR has provided the city the authority to put in place a further temporary slow-no-wake restriction.
- The temporary slow-no-wake restriction will be put in place as soon as the city’s no-wake restriction ends as described above.
- The DNR temporary no-wake restriction will continue for 30 days beyond the end of the city restriction or until the water level drops below 903.5 ft for three (3) consecutive days, whichever comes first.
The Spring Lake slow-no-wake restrictions are extended until at least Aug. 14, 2014, or until the Prior Lake restrictions are removed.
Scott County Declared a State of Emergency – Scott County declared a state of emergency for the entire county, due to flooding. The Department of Homeland Security is looking at declaring 30 counties in the state as emergencies. If they are approved, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) would reimburse the state for up to 75% of recovery expenses and the State would cover up to 25%. At this point, the State has set aside $3 million for an emergency fund; however, it is possible there will be a special Legislative Session to authorize more funding. Scott County’s emergency limit is $454,748.
Prior Lake and Spring Lake have crested. It all depends upon drainage in the watershed and the extent to whether or not we get more rain. Extremely high lake levels will persist for the foreseeable future. The Slow No Wake restriction for Prior Lake will not be lifted until the lake level drops below 904 feet for three consecutive days, which may take weeks. While in place, the Slow No Wake restriction dictates no person shall operate a watercraft at greater than a slow no-wake speed on the entire lake.
The City of Prior Lake and the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District continue to work together to address flooding concerns and answer questions. Spring Lake has receded below 911.5, so Prior Lake is also receding. Even if there is no additional rainfall, the water in Prior Lake will remain high for several weeks.
Lake Flow Overview
Spring Lake drains into Prior Lake through a natural channel and is the primary contributor to Prior Lake. Since Prior Lake does not have a natural outlet, the Prior Lake Outlet Structure was installed by the Watershed District in 1983 in response to flooding issues. The Structure consists of an intake structure and a 36” concrete pipe leading to an outlet channel. The pipe is full of water and has been for quite some time, so it is at capacity. Once the lake reaches 902.5 feet, the water flows over the outlet structure through the Prior Lake Outlet Channel and into the Minnesota River.
Federal Funding Update
Minnesota will receive $4.25 million in federal funding to help repair roads that have been damaged by the devastating flooding. The funding from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Emergency Relive Program will help reimburse Minnesota for road repairs and reconstruction in response to extensive flood damage across much of the state.
The Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District includes 14 major bodies of water, over 730 wetlands and one County Ditch.
Check out our Projects page to see what we’re doing to manage and preserve our local water resources!
News & Events
- THE BOARD SAYS GOODBYE TO A BOARD MEMBER AND WELCOMES A NEW ONE! - July 11, 2014