Stillwater to build 2,000-foot-long levee as part of flooding prep

The soggy weather only reminds the City of Stillwater what’s to come: a flood.

City leaders have been told there’s a 90 percent chance the St. Croix River will come up to 689 feet, which is major flood stage. It’s been 18 years since Stillwater has seen a flood like the one expected.

“It depends on the Minnesota and the Mississippi rivers and when they back up, that affects us... how much liquid is in the snow pack north of us and flows into the river, then local conditions as well,” said Stillwater Police Chief John Gannaway.

The plan is to build a temporary levee about 2,000 feet long. Starting Tuesday, the city will take over about nine riverfront parking lots to put the barriers in place. The sand wall will take about three days to build.  

“There’s downtown businesses, there’s sewer lines, there’s all the stuff that’s under the ground that the city needs to protect,” said Chief Gannaway.

One business expecting to be impacted is The Dock Café, which was also the case back in 2001. The levee then was built right off the corner of their building. During that flood, the dock closed for eight days, hurting business and the employees who work there. Like with any flood, it’s the unknown that’s so concerning.

“You just don’t know what’s going to happen, but we do have semis on reserve if we have to pull out everything from our outside bar and all of our furniture – any of it, but it’s sort of a day-by-day thing,” said Sherri Hopfe, the owner of The Dock Café.