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April 16, 2014

FWC activates idle-speed, no-wake restrictions on Suwannee River’s Zone 1

Live Oak —

The Suwannee River reached flood stage at Ellaville Tuesday, prompting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to activate idle-speed, no-wake restrictions for the area of the river from U.S. 90 in Ellaville south to State Road 51 in Luraville.

This 39-mile segment of the river becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 47 feet above mean sea level on the Ellaville gauge, where flood stage is 54 feet.

Zones 3, 4 and 5 are also activated.

Zone 3 covers the area from Little River Spring to the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff. This 23-mile segment is an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River is at 24 feet or more above mean sea level as indicated on the Branford gauge. This zone was activated April 12.

Zone 4 runs from C.R. 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to 1 mile below the Fowler Bluff Boat Ramp. This 51-mile segment is an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River is at 9 feet or more above mean sea level as indicated on the Wilcox gauge, where flood stage is 11 feet. This zone was activated April 12.

Zone 5 is from River Rise in O’Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River. This 32-mile segment is an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Santa Fe River is at 17 above feet mean sea level or higher, as indicated on the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet. This zone was activated March 19.

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.

FWC officers will be patrolling this area of the river to ensure the idle-speed, no-wake rule is enforced, said Maj. Andy Krause, FWC regional commander.

The FWC is encouraging boaters to stay off the river system until conditions improve.

“Water levels on the Suwannee River can fluctuate rapidly, creating navigational hazards for unsuspecting boaters, such as floating debris, submerged rocks and stumps and new shoaling conditions. We want everyone to be safe,” Krause said.

The idle-speed, no-wake rule will stay in effect in this zone until the water level recedes below 47 feet.

The only zone that has not been triggered is:

  • Zone 2 is 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. To report violations, please call 888-404-3922.

To obtain real-time river level information, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com.

 

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