News Releases

FWC lifts restrictions on Suwannee River's Zone 3

News Release

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

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 above mean sea level at the Branford gauge.

The FWC activated restrictions in this zone Feb. 15.

"This morning, we verified with the Suwannee River Water Management District that the water level there has fallen below the required 24 feet at Branford," said Capt. Roy Brown, area supervisor at the FWC's Lake City office.

"Zones 4 and 5 are still idle-speed, no-wake," Brown said, "and we still have officers patrolling that area to enforce the boating restrictions."

Zone 4 runs from the C.R. 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to one mile below the Fowler Bluff boat ramp. Zone 5 is a 32-mile segment, extending from River Rise in O'Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River. The FWC activated the zone on Jan. 29, when the Santa Fe River reached 17 feet on the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet.

"The water levels on both rivers are going down slowly," Brown said. "But it may take a while longer before we can deactivate these zones."

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 three 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 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 level information, visit

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