When Suwannee River floodwaters at Branford fell below 24 feet today, 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 on the Branford gauge.
The FWC had activated restrictions in this zone March 5.
“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. Martin Redmond, area supervisor at the FWC’s Lake City office.
“Zones 4 and 5 are still idle-speed, no-wake,” Redmond 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 and was activated March 11 when the gauge at Wilcox reached 9 feet. Zone 5 is a 32-mile segment on the Santa Fe River, extending from River Rise in O’Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River. The FWC activated that zone March 3, when the river reached 17 feet on the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet.
“The water levels on both rivers are going down,” Redmond said.
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 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 is at 47 feet, as indicated on the Ellaville gauge, where flood stage is 54 feet. The restrictions in this zone were also deactivated Tuesday.
- Zone 2– from the S.R. 51 Bridge at Luraville to Little River Spring. This 18-mile segment will be 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. This zone was also deactivated Tuesday.
For more information about the flood zones, please call 386-758-0525. To report violations, please call 888-404-3922.
Logo courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission