Although there was more rainfall over the North Florida and South Georgia area last week, the Suwannee River and Alapaha River in Hamilton County have crested. If no more rain falls, the Suwannee River is predicted to fall below floodstage (77') by Sunday, April 17. The Alapaha is predicted to fall below floodstage (101') by Monday, April 18.
Boaters are reminded that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is enforcing a no-wake/idle speed rule on the Suwannee River from Branford to Fowlers Bluff, and on the lower Santa Fe River.
Persons operating all forms of water craft on all local rivers and lakes are urged to show consideration for property owners by voluntarily maintaining reasonable speeds, whether no-wake signs are posted or not.
Rain-swollen rivers create dangerous conditions for navigation and for property owners. Wholly or partially submerged objects such as trees and stumps, telephone and electrical wires, docks, and dwellings pose a hazard to boaters.
Vessels traveling above idle speed pose a threat to private property along the riverfront and local lakes. The no-wake rule is meant to protect homes, docks and seawalls on or near the river from additional flood damage. The rule also offers protection against environmental damage including erosion, degradation of water quality, introduction of pollutants into the river system, and the undermining of trees and other vegetation.
The Suwannee River Water Management District does not institute or enforce no-wake rules. Enforcement of the no-wake rule now in effect on rivers is the responsibility of the FWC. Questions or complaints regarding boating activities on lakes should be directed to county sheriffs or FWC.
Residents who are unable to reach their homes due to road flooding or other access issues should contact the Hamilton County Emergency Management coordinator at 792-6647.
River levels and crest predictions are available by calling 386-362-6626 or 800-604-2272, or on the Suwannee River Water Management District web site: www.mysuwanneeriver.com.