NO WAKE: High water forces Lake Minnetonka speed restrictions - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

NO WAKE: High water forces Lake Minnetonka speed restrictions

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April showers gave way to May ones, and all that rain is having a big impact on the land of 10,000 lakes. In fact, high water speed limits are already in place at some of the most popular bodies of water in the metro.

For nearly two weeks, the dam at Gray's Bay has been wide open, filling the normally quiet creek with raging rapids.

"Downstream along Minnehaha Creek, it's pretty much bank full," Tammy Mamayek, with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, told Fox 9 News.

Although maxing out the dam's 300-cubic-feet-per-second discharge makes for a spectacular show at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, Lake Minnetonka is still swollen and shoreline erosion is a real concern.

"I don't think I've ever seen it this high before," Skip Jewett, who has lived on the lake for more than 30 years, said.

Red flags normally go off whenever the lake gets to 930 feet, but when the lake topped that by a full quarter inch, the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District had no choice but to impose speed limits on much of the lake.

"During the wake restrictions, if they want to come out to the lake and do the tubing, they're going to have to stay out at least 600 feet," Nybeck explained.

For those launching a boat, it's impossible to miss the giant signs -- but for some boaters, it can be hard to visualize a couple football fields of distance.

"Sometimes, the biggest violators of the minimum wake restrictions are those that actually live on the lake," Nybeck said.

The unusually high water levels could even force some homeowners to adjust the height of their docks and lifts.

For the recreational boaters, the lake is still open for business -- just don't plan on going any faster than 5 mph on much of the lake because anything faster is off-limits in 17 bays.

Yet, the biggest question many have is this: How long will it take for the waters to recede?

"Your guess is as good as mine," Nybeck said. "I'm hopeful to get it off by the Memorial Day weekend, but I wouldn't hold your breath on that."

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