The summer drought has affected Minnesota in more ways than one.

Naturally, farmers have noticed an effect on both livestock and agricultureHunters are anticipated to met challenges this fall. And now, boaters are facing an unprecedented difficulty.

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In many areas, water levels continue to drop (stop me if you have heard this before) because of the drought. According to the Department of Natural Resources, this is causing significant problems with launching and retrieving boats.

Throughout the state, DNR crews have extended boat launch ramps to combat the issue with hopes that boaters can still operate in these low-waters. However, this is challenging to do in naturally shallow lakes.

Of course, it is nearly impossible to extend boat launch ramps that have damage in the form of deep holes due to power loading.

Nancy Stewart, DNR's statewide water recreation program lead, explains:

“Boat ramps that were damaged by power loading provide not only a challenge to launching but can also result in damage to boats, motors, and trailers. Boaters should always use caution and check the ramp and water levels before launching.”

In other words, boaters need to be cognizant. Monitor water levels frequently. Remain knowledgeable on available removal options for boats. If options are limited, perhaps it is time to winterize your watercraft.

The DNR releases notes:

"Boaters also should be aware of new obstructions in the water, such as rocks, stumps and sand bars that may not typically be an issue but are now creating hazards due to low water levels."

For information on current conditions, head here.

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