(Originally published on July 20.)By Lisa Meadows

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans have been seeing the signs of drought on fields and lawns all summer, but now people are even starting to see the impacts on the waterways.

Tiffany Schaufler is with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.

READ MORE: As Drought Conditions Persists, Minnesota Cities Announce Water Conservation Measures

“We’re getting calls, you know, from a recreation standpoint, if you’re trying to even just get your boat in the water at a boat landing. You know, docks are at different levels,” Schaufler said.

As water levels keep going down, new river hazards keep coming up.

“People trying to access and drive boats below bridges [are] having impacts,” she said.

And this week’s extreme heat is making things a lot worse.

“Lake Minnetonka’s so large, a hot, 90-degree day we lose a lot of water evaporation,” she said.

(credit: CBS)

In fact, the lake can lose an inch and a half of water in just two days.

READ MORE: With Apple Picking Season Approaching, Drought Could Lead To Limited Inventory

“That evaporation that’s happening across our water bodies is just dramatic this year,” Schaufler said. “We’re just losing so much water to just evaporation.”

The low water level has actually produced a crop of wild rice that only occurs under these conditions.

“From an aquatic standpoint, warmer temperatures can lead to more blue-green algae blooms,” Schaufler said. “We’re having, because of the warmer water temperatures, more fish die off because water temperatures are just increasing.”

And the dryer-than-average long-range forecast means things will continue to get worse.

“You’re gonna see, likely, main stem creeks dry up,” she said. “You’re gonna see lake levels continue to drop.”

According to meteorologist Mike Augustyniak, some areas of the state have received 8 inches below average rainfall since April 1.

Map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the departure from normal precipitation. (credit: NOAA)

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Lisa Meadows