Suwannee Democrat


April 3, 2014

FWC lifts restrictions on Suwannee River’s Zone 3

Live Oak —

When Suwannee River floodwaters at Branford fell below 24 feet, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) deactivated boating restrictions in Zone 3.

Zone 3 runs from Little River Spring to the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff. This 23-mile segment is an idle-speed, no-wake zone as long as the Suwannee River is at 24 feet or more on the Branford gauge.

The FWC had activated restrictions in this zone March 25.

“The Suwannee River Water Management District has verified that the water level there has fallen below the required 24 feet at Branford,” said Major Andrew Krause, regional commander at the FWC’s Lake City office.

“Zones 4 and 5 are still idle-speed, no-wake,” Krause said, “and we still have officers patrolling those areas to enforce the boating speed restrictions.”

Zone 4 runs from the C.R. 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to 1 mile below the Fowler Bluff boat ramp and was activated March 27 when the gauge at Wilcox reached 9 feet. Zone 5 is a 32-mile segment on the Santa Fe River, extending from River Rise in O’Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River. The FWC activated that zone March 18, when the river reached 17 feet on the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet.

The water levels on both rivers are going down, according to readings at river-level gauges.

An idle-speed, no-wake zone means a vessel must proceed at a speed no greater than what is required to maintain steerageway and headway. At no time is any vessel required to proceed so slowly that the operator is unable to control it or anything it may be towing.

The Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers are divided into five flood zones. The other two zones are:

  • Zone 1 – from the U.S. 90 Bridge at Ellaville south to the State Road 51 Bridge at Luraville. This 39-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River is at 47 feet, as indicated on the Ellaville gauge, where flood stage is 54 feet.
  • Zone 2 – from the S.R. 51 Bridge at Luraville to Little River Spring. This 18-mile segment will be an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River is at 26 feet or more above mean sea level as indicated on the Branford gauge, where flood stage is 29 feet.

For more information about the flood zones, please call 386-758-0525 and ask for Karen Parker or Officer Brad Stanley. To report violations, please call 888-404-3922.

To obtain real-time river level information, visit


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