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Summer Flooding in the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District

Posted: 07/03/24

The Lower Minnesota River Watershed District (LMRWD) is feeling the impacts of flooding along the Minnesota River caused by heavy rains this spring and summer compounded with land use changes (agricultural and urban development) that have decreased water storage across the Minnesota River Valley. The river crested in most areas of the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District (LMRWD) on Friday, June 28 and through the weekend. Floodwaters are now receding. The river is still currently listed at the highest rating of “Very High” on the MnDNR website for most reaches, which is considered dangerous for paddling and not recommended for use. Areas within the LMRWD are still under a flood warning and safety precautions should be monitored.

As the water goes down, the LMRWD will continue to monitor impacts and damages caused by floodwaters, and address issues. We’ve compiled flood updates from affected areas within the LMRWD. Follow us on social media to join the conversation about flooding in your neighborhood.


City officials constructed a temporary levee, from Depot Park to Riverside Park, to increase the height of the levee in this location. The river crested on Friday and flood waters are receding with the levee trail reopening to pedestrians. Main Street West through downtown Carver remains closed until further notice.


The Minnesota River crested near Chaska around Friday evening, about 0.25 inches below the historic 1965 floods. The Highway 41 river bridge and Athletic Park are closed until further notice.


Flood waters were expected to crest at 721 feet, which exceeded the 1993 flood mark of 719.4 feet, but will be just below the 1965 flood, which registered 721.8 feet. City officials have ensured Huber Park is properly protected and it will be closed to the public until further notice.


Valleyfair, a local attraction within Shakopee, gained attention for flooding that limited use of the park. On-site parking is limited due to flooding and offsite parking with shuttle options are encouraged and available on the Valleyfair website. Three rides are shut down due to flooding, including the Excalibur and Renegade rollercoasters and the Thunder Canyon white-water rafting ride. Fourth of July fireworks are cancelled. Fireworks will be rescheduled for later this season.

The Landing

The Landing Park, managed by Three Rivers Parks District, near Shakopee remains open. Continue to monitor the website before visiting the park to stay up to date with flood conditions.

Fort Snelling State Park

Fort Snelling State Park, located within the floodplain, will remain closed until flood water recedes and park staff can assess and repair any damages.

Rapidan Dam (Blue Earth River)

One of the most notable stories from summer 2024 flooding is the 114-year-old Rapidan Dam, located in the Blue Earth River, which drains into the Minnesota River upstream of Mankato. The dam partially failed on June 24, 2024, with water breaching the earthen abutment. The flow rapidly eroded a huge section of the west bank. The Rapidan Dam Store was purchased by local officials so it could be demolished before it also fell into the river.  There is a large amount of sediment that the river swallowed from the bank, which was transported downstream, adding to the sediment load entering the lower Minnesota River Valley. The water slows as it nears the Mississippi confluence and sediment is settled out of solution, adding to the amount of material that will need to be dredged by the LMRWD for navigation to continue.

Part of the LMRWD’s work is to minimize the negative effects of floods on the Minnesota River and all waterbodies in the watershed. The District engages strategies to evaluate flood risks and minimize risks to resources within the floodplain.

Have you been affected by the recent Minnesota River flooding? Share your story with us at!


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