Sandbagging starts on lower St. Croix River as water begins to rise

Workers and volunteers are building dikes in expectation of significant spring flooding.




5 minute read

Closed areas in Stillwater. (Greg Seitz)

Communities along the St. Croix River from Stillwater south are preparing for high water that is predicted to arrive in the weeks ahead. The flood forecast has not changed significantly in the past week, with a good chance of major flooding.

Water began rising late last week, having now more than three feet. It is expected to hit the first flood stage by this Friday, and continue rising for the foreseeable future. According to the National Weather Service, there is a 90 percent chance it will rise another eight feet and crest at 687 feet above sea level during the second week of April.

There also remains about a 90 percent change of hitting major flood stage at some point during the season.

“I think we still have reason for concern,” Doug Berglund, Washington County’s emergency management director, told the Pioneer Press. “There is a lot of water on the ground right now both in the snowpack and waiting in ditches and ponds and streams. I’m concerned about how fast that snowpack melts — the snow that is in there has a lot of water in it.”

Several communities are seeking help and putting plans in place.


The city of Stillwater plans to start sandbagging and constructing its dike Thursday, March 21.

A first call for volunteers to help in Stillwater was issued yesterday, and 300 slots were filled within a couple hours. Organizers say they have filled three, three-hour shifts for four days, starting this Thursday. That fulfills the city’s current request, but more may be needed in the future.

Interested citizens are asked to follow the Washington County Flood Response 2019 Facebook page, or visit the Community Thread website, for additional opportunities to help.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation removed all its equipment from the historic Lift Bridge, related to the renovations. The delay in work may push the bridge’s opening for pedestrian use later this fall.

The Stillwater Fire Department provided their fan boat, which can operate on ice and water, to help remove equipment from under the bridge.

Rep. Betty McCollum, who represents most of the affected areas, toured Stillwater’s flood preprations yesterday with Mayor Ted Kozlowski and other officials.

Greg Schulz of Pictures Over Stillwater provided some aerial drone footage of the preparations:

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From the city:

The City will be coordinating sandbagging efforts for city residents in response to the potential river flooding. Sandbagging efforts will be completed with the help of city staff, prison crews, STS crews, and volunteer efforts.

The city is seeking volunteers to help residents with flood preparation, sandbagging, and other flood related assistance. If you are willing to volunteer, please contact City Hall at or 651-275-4404 and provide your name, telephone number, and email address. Please note the information you provide will become public information and will be disseminated out to those property owners in need of assistance.

We ask that any city resident who wishes to acquire sandbags help with the effort by filling some sandbags for their own use. Sandbags can be delivered by city staff when staff has available time for delivery. Residents are welcome to pick up their own sandbags. Sandbag pickup will be at the Public Works Building located at 98 2nd Ave So.

The first day sandbags will be available in larger quantities, will be Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Bayport Public Works Facility, located at 98 2nd Ave. South. You may come and help make your own, which is appreciated, or pick up premade. Please contact city hall at 651-275-4404 or to let the city know how many you will need. Requests are subject to availability.

Public meeting:

Monday, March 25, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.
Bayport Library (Meeting Room C)
Also air live on Valley Access cable television.


The United Way of the St. Croix Valley is seeking volunteers to help Hudson homeowners who may need sandbagging assistance.

If you are interested in helping, please join our list of volunteers who are willing to fill sandbags and help residents in flood-risk areas protect their homes.

Specific dates and times are not yet known, but if you join our list we will keep you updated and let you know when volunteers are needed.

If you’re interested in joining our list, please send us a message through Facebook or email us at and give us your name, phone number, and email address.

United Way St. Croix Valley

Lake St. Croix Beach

Lake St. Croix Beach plans on making 14,000 sandbags to build a 1,100 feet long, 3 feet tall wall in Riverfront Park to prevent flooding.

“Right now we’ve got 1,500 made and this weekend we will make another 2,000,” Lake St. Croix Beach Mayor Tom McCarthy said. “We live by the river because we love it, but every once in awhile we get thrown a curve ball and this is what we have to deal with.”

The city is looking for volunteers to help fill sandbags at city hall this Saturday between 10am and 12pm.

Flood preparation still underway on St. Croix, roads remain closed in south central Minnesota

Lake St. Croix Beach’s City Council declared a state of emergency for the city on Thursday, March 15.

The map below, provided by the Lower St. Croix Valley Fire Department, shows what would be underwater in the event of different crest heights. Numerous structures could be affected.

St. Mary’s Point

Sandbaggers needed! City seeks to fill 14,000 sandbags.

Volunteers are asked to sign up at city hall.

Saturday, March 23, 2019
8am- Noon
5 people per shift
9:15 – 10:45
Location: Ice Arena – south drive way, lower level lot


Mayor Bill Palmquist: “Last week city staff met with the Army Corp to discuss our plans for adding additional elevation to the levee if conditions require it. We will be monitoring this closely. Our levee is at 695 feet, so it would be historic numbers that would require this, but we will be finalizing these plans over the next week. Staff has worked out details where we will be able to fairly quickly raise the height of the levee by 3 feet, but sandbagging will still be required in some areas.”

There is about a five percent chance of the river hitting 695 feet, according to the NWS.

To sign up to volunteer to help with Afton’s flood preparations if needed, please send an email to


There will be an emergency City Council Meeting on Thursday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss both river flooding and overland flooding.

In preparation for the predicted flooding the City of Prescott is asking for volunteers to help fill sand bags. These sand bags can be used by residents for their own personal property. We will be starting around 12:00 PM today at two locations. The Prescott beach parking lot on Lake St. and the parking lot between the train bridge and the Eagle Point Condos.

Volunteers must fill out a waiver before helping, are are also encouraged to bring shovels.

More information is available on the city’s website.

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Sandbagging starts on lower St. Croix River as water begins to rise