VBWD Implements Emergency Drawdown of Lakes

The Valley Branch Watershed District implements emergency drawdown of lakes in anticipation of potential spring flooding. 

Beginning March 13, 2019, the Valley Branch Watershed District will lower lake water levels along its watershed outlet system. This outlet system connects lakes in the northwest part of the watershed district to the St. Croix River. The high water content in the snowpack increases the probability of spring flooding. Lowering lake water levels will reduce the risk of flooding during and after the spring snowmelt.

Those who use the lakes for fishing, snowmobiling, and other activities are cautioned that lowering the lakes could results in new open water areas, thin ice, and areas of weakened ice, especially at lake inlets and outlets.

All of the lake drawdown activities are in accordance with permits and lake level management plans approved by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The spring snowmelt will return the lakes to their normal levels.

Horseshoe Lake, located in Lake Elmo and West Lakeland Township, will be lowered first and the lake will be lowered 3 to 5 feet below its current water level.

Over the following month, water levels will be lowered from 0.5 to 1 feet below current water levels on Lake Elmo, Lake DeMontreville, Lake Olson, Lake Jane, Crombie Pond, Hedges Pond, Hedges Bog, and Long Lake. All of these lakes and ponds area located in the City of Lake Elmo, except for Long Lake which is located in the Cities of Pine Springs and Mahtomedi. Other water bodies, including Deer Pond, Raleigh Creek, and Eagle Point Lake in Lake Elmo and a channel and series of ponds between Manning and Neal Avenues in West Lakeland Township, will also be affected by the drawdowns.

Below are the recent snowpack water equivalent readings. 

Site #


Water Depth (inches)

February 28

March 10


Oak-Land Jr. High School (Lake Elmo)




Tablyn Park (Lake Elmo)




Oakfield Park (Oakdale)




Southwest Park (Mahtomedi)







Lake Olson-DeMontreville Emergency Drawdown Procedure 

St. Croix River Flood Forecast website link

NOAA Snow Water Equivalent website link

Spring Flood Outlook from NWS, March 7 (PDF)