PRIOR LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — High water will have a big impact on boating plans this Fourth of July weekend.
No wake zones remain in effect on several area lakes. The slow speed is making for a quiet holiday on Prior Lake where many boaters didn’t even bother to get out on the water.
For the last week, Matt Brie and his neighbors have fought rising water in their Prior Lake neighborhood.
“Every morning I wake up and see if the street is dry,” Brie said.
Heavy rain gave new meaning to his waterfront property, and sandbags now surround his home and street to keep the lake water out.
“We’ve enforced ours good. So, we’re keeping our fingers crossed, but if it did have wake and breach a wall, we’d have a mess,” Brie said.
He’s not alone. Just a few blocks away, a sandbag barrier near Tamara Erickson’s home keeps the lake at bay.
But every wave that hits shore threatens the wall’s integrity.
“It is a worry,” she said. “Everyone I’ve talked to, with homes on the lake, are very concerned.”
And on the busiest boating day of the year, there’s concern boaters won’t follow the no wake rules and kick out waves that could damage homes.
“I had a boat come through here, pretty fast, and create a wake against our sandbags, which is not great,” Erickson said.
It’s why DNR conservation officer Adam Block is out on the water.
“We’re making sure people are adhering to the slow no wake,” he said.
Block’s Fourth of July routine typically focuses on drunk boaters and safety stops. This year, a priority is ultimately about protecting property.
“I think homeowners are expecting law enforcement to be out here and be strict about it,” he said. “If I was a lakeshore owner, I would want law enforcement to be strict.”
The job is made easier since new restrictions are keeping people off the water.
“I think today’s going to be fairly slow,” Block said.
That’s a welcome sight for homeowners like Brie who now have a much different take on lakefront property.
“To be honest, we moved out here in November. Before that we boated out here for years and you didn’t understand what a wake could do to a shoreline,” Brie said.
Block said a ticket for speeding on the lake can cost more than $100.