Looking ahead to the boating season following low water levels last year

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 5:47 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The warm temperatures this week has many of us thinking about spring - and dreaming about getting back out on the water in the coming months.

Drought conditions significantly impacted several lakes and rivers across the state last year and many boaters were not able to get their boat in the water.

A boat out on Lake Pepin
A boat out on Lake Pepin(KTTC)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hoping for some improvement this year, but experts say it’s still a little to early to tell since all of the lakes around the state are still ice covered.

Climatologists say we are in better shape than we were this time last year, and with significant rainfall on the way this week, there is hope for improved water levels.

“Basically the drought began in 2020, that’s when we started loosing ground in the lakes, and accelerated in 2021,” Minn. DNR Ecological and Water Resources Climatologist Pete Boulay said. “We did get bailed out a bit in the fall and into December of last year, so it stopped the slide. So at least for right now, lakes are kind of looking at where we were at in the fall. So we’ll have to see how much rain falls this spring to see how much of a bump we get in the lakes.”

Boulay says the DNR Ecological and Water Resources office should have a better idea of lake levels in the coming weeks once lake ice melts.

Ice on Lake Pepin
Ice on Lake Pepin(KTTC)

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