Like returning birds and stronger sun, spring in the St. Croix Valley also means the likelihood of high water. As the watershed thaws out from a long winter with a snowy finish, the meltwater heads downhill.
In Stillwater, the riverfront levee is submerged already, with a small dike built by city staff on Nelson St. next to the Dock Cafe on the south end of Lowell Park. The park is closed off by temporary fencing.
The National Weather Service expects the river to crest near 687 feet above sea level in Stillwater — the point at which the Lift Bridge would have be closed, if it still carried vehicle traffic. It is currently closed for renovations and conversion for pedestrian use, and will reopen next year.
The highest water in recorded history, the major flood of 1965, was another nine feet above this year’s predicted crest.
Water levels will far exceed the no-wake zone minimum — 683 feet — for the foreseeable future.