FWC lifts Santa Fe boating restrictions
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525
Santa Fe River floodwaters at the Three Rivers gauge have dropped below 17 feet, allowing for the deactivation of boating restrictions that have applied on the river since June 29.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) lifted the idle-speed, no-wake restriction on Zone 5, which runs 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 as long as the Santa Fe River is at 17 feet, as indicated on the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet.
“The Suwannee River Water Management District verified the water level has fallen below the required 17 feet at Three Rivers,” said Capt. Martin Redmond, area supervisor at the FWC’s Lake City office.
“There are now no active idle-speed, no-wake zones on the river system, but we would request that boaters be considerate of the flood victims’ attempts to recover by operating in a manner that does not create wakes in residential areas,” Redmond said.
FWC officers will continue to patrol local waterways, looking for violations such as boating under the influence and careless/reckless operation.
An idle-speed, no-wake restriction means a vessel must proceed at a speed no greater than what is required to maintain steerageway and headway in that river zone. 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 four zones are:
- Zone 1 - It runs 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 - It 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 reaches 26 feet or more above mean sea level at the Branford gauge, where flood stage is 29 feet.
- Zone 3 - It 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 at the Branford gauge.
- Zone 4 - It is from the C.R. 340 Bridge at Rock Bluff to one mile below the Fowler Bluff Boat Ramp. This 51-mile segment becomes an idle-speed, no wake-zone when the Suwannee River reaches 9 feet or more at the Wilcox gauge, where flood stage is 11 feet.
To obtain real-time river level information, visit www.mysuwanneeriver.com.