Xcel Energy to begin temporary drawdown of St. Croix Falls Flowage

Power company lowering water levels behind dam to repair damage from recent flooding.




2 minute read

St. Croix Falls hydroelectric dam (National Park Service)

Xcel Energy is planning to conduct a six-foot drawdown of the St. Croix Falls Flowage on the St. Croix River beginning Thursday, May 26. The drawdown is necessary to replace the  flashboards at our St. Croix Falls Dam that were damaged during a significant runoff event. 

River flows have dropped significantly in the last week which will allow the drawdown to proceed at a rate of six inches per day. The normal pond elevation range is 754.5’ – 755.0’ and the target drawdown elevation is 749.0’. 

It is expected to take approximately 11 days to reach the target drawdown elevation. The pond will then be held at  that elevation for several days to complete the repairs. Once repairs are completed, the pond will be refilled at a  rate of 1.5 feet per day. The entire process should be completed by June 13 pending favorable weather and flow  conditions. Boating, canoeing or kayaking above the dam is not recommended until after this time when the boat  barriers are safely in place. 

May 16, 2022 announcement:

Caution urged around St. Croix Falls Dam

Due to high river flows, the boat restraining barrier upstream of the company’s hydro plant in St. Croix Falls failed and is not in place at this time.

Boaters and fisherman are urged to stay away from the St. Croix Falls Dam due to high river flows, debris in the water and unprotected spillway and powerhouse intakes. Power is being generated in the powerhouse and excess water is being discharged through the spillway section.

“Boating, canoeing or kayaking above St. Croix Falls Dam is not recommended until the river recedes and we can safely reinstall the boat barrier,” said Rob Olson, manager, Hydro Operations at Xcel Energy. “The boat barrier assists in keeping boaters away from the powerhouse intake and spillway section.”

Xcel Energy offers these tips for personal safety near dams:

  • Avoid using the river during times of flooding.
  • Obey all warning signs, barriers and flashing lights, horns and sirens.
  • Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) – a life jacket.
  • Always stay outside buoy lines and away from restricted areas near dams.
  • Never swim or wade near a dam.
  • Never boat or fish alone when near a dam.
  • Leave your boat motor running to provide maneuvering power.
  • Stay clear of spillways. Changing currents and “boiling” waves can make boat control difficult near dams.
  • Reverse currents occur below dams. They can pull a boat back toward the dam into the spillway and capsize it.
  • Never anchor boats below a dam because water levels can change rapidly.
  • Bring a cell phone and contact 9-1-1 in an emergency.


One response to “Xcel Energy to begin temporary drawdown of St. Croix Falls Flowage”

  1. LeAnne Smith Avatar
    LeAnne Smith

    If you are walking along shore while the river is down and see clams exposed, please set them back into the water so the don’t dry out. We will be doing same as often possible until the river is back to normal.


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Xcel Energy to begin temporary drawdown of St. Croix Falls Flowage