You may not have needed a reminder, but the Minnehaha Creek Watershed Distrit (MCWD) has its own signal that winter is near.
This morning the District and city of Minnetonka winterized the Gray's Bay dam, installing metal stop logs to protect the gates from ice. The logs are stacked six high in each of the dam's three columns and will hold back the water while the dam gates are lifted. Gray's Bay is the easternmost point of Lake Minnetonka and the headwaters of the Minnehaha Creek.
The District has operated the dam since it was built in 1975, following a strict procedure set by the Department of Natural Resources to control water levels in the lake and creek. The logs go in before the lake freezes but after the water level has dropped low enough that the dam likely won't need to open again. The lake needs to fall below a certain level heading into winter so there is enough capacity to hold the spring snow melt.
The logs will come out after the ice clears in the spring. It's an easier job since the 2004 renovation of the dam, when MCWD switched from real timber logs to the less cumbersome steel beams.
Editor's note: Information and photos provided by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.