News Releases

FWC restricts boating on Suwannee River's Zone 4

News Release

Friday, February 19, 2010

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

When Suwannee River floodwaters at Wilcox rose above 9 feet Friday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) activated boating restrictions on Zone 4.

This section is from the County Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to one 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 or more above mean sea level, as indicated on the Wilcox gauge, where flood stage is 11 feet.

Boating restrictions on two other zones have already been activated. Zone 5, a 32-mile segment from River Rise in O'Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River, was activated Jan. 29, when the Santa Fe River reached 17 feet on the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet. That zone remains in effect. Water in the Suwannee River rose to 24.05 feet at Branford Monday, so Zone 3, from Little River Spring to the CR 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff, was activated. This 23-mile segment will be an idle-speed, no-wake zone as long as the Suwannee River is at 24 feet or more, as indicated on the Branford gauge. It's also still in effect.

"FWC officers are patrolling swollen rivers to ensure boaters comply with the idle-speed, no-wake rule," said Capt. Roy Brown, area supervisor 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 Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers are divided into five flood zones. The two remaining zones that aren't restricted 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 or more above mean sea level, as indicated on the Ellaville gauge, where flood stage is 54 feet.
  • Zone 2 stretches 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 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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