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March 27, 2014

FWC restricts boating on Suwannee River’s Zone 4

Live Oak —

When Suwannee River floodwaters at Wilcox rose above 9 feet Thursday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) activated boating restrictions on Zone 4. This is the third zone to be activated this month.

This section is from the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to 1 mile below the Fowler Bluff Boat Ramp. This 51-mile segment will be an idle-speed, no-wake zone as long as the Suwannee is at 9 feet on the Wilcox gauge, where flood stage is 11 feet.

Zones 3 and 5 have also been activated.

Zone 5, a 32-mile section on the Santa Fe River, which runs from River Rise within O’Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River, was activated March 19. This area of the river becomes an idle speed, no wake zone when the Santa Fe River reaches 17 feet as indicated on the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet.

Zone 3, a 23-mile segment running from Little River Spring to the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff, was activated Wednesday. This zone becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 24 feet or more above mean sea level at the Branford gauge.

FWC officers are patrolling both rivers to ensure boaters comply with the idle-speed, no-wake rule, said Maj. Andrew Krause, regional commander at the FWC’s Lake City office.

The FWC encourages boaters to stay off the Suwannee-Santa Fe river system until conditions improve.

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 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 reaches 47 feet or more above mean sea level at 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 becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 26 feet or more above mean sea level at 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 levels, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com.

 

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