If Santa Fe River reaches 17 feet Tuesday, idle-speed, no-wake zone goes into effect
Monday, January 25, 2010
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525
As the water level continues to rise, the Santa Fe
River will approach flood stage Tuesday, activating an idle-speed,
no-wake zone along a 32-mile segment of the river, according to the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The FWC has been working with Suwannee River Water
Management District personnel, who expect the Santa Fe to reach 17
feet above mean sea level at the Three Rivers gauge, where flood
stage is 19 feet.
Once the river reaches 17 feet at the Three Rivers
gauge, the FWC will apply boating restrictions to Zone 5, which
runs from River Rise in O'Leno State Park west to the confluence of
the Suwannee River.
"The Santa Fe may reach that level Tuesday. We want
to give boaters a heads up," said Capt. Roy Brown, area supervisor
at the FWC's Lake City office.
An idle-speed, no-wake zone means a vessel must
proceed at a speed no greater than that required to maintain
steerageway and headway. The FWC doesn't require any vessel to
proceed so slowly that the operator can't control it or anything it
may be towing.
If the FWC activates the speed zone, officers will
patrol this area of the river to ensure the idle-speed, no-wake
zone is enforced, Brown said.
"Water levels on the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers
can fluctuate rapidly, especially with all the rain we've been
getting lately. These fluctuations can create navigational hazards
for unsuspecting boaters, such as floating debris, submerged rocks
and stumps and new shoaling conditions. We want everyone to be
safe," Brown said.
The idle-speed, no-wake zone would stay in effect
until the water level recedes below 17 feet.
The other four 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
- Zone 3, from Little River Spring to the County
Road 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff. This 23-mile segment becomes an
idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Suwannee River reaches 24 feet or
more above mean sea level at the Branford gauge.
- Zone 4, from the C.R. 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 when the Suwannee River reaches
9 feet or more above mean sea level at the Wilcox gauge, where
flood stage is 11 feet.
To obtain real-time river level information, visit