Santa Fe River may get close to flooding

Idle-speed, no-wake restrictions in effect for the river.


Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 6:54 a.m.

The Santa Fe River is expected to get close to flood stage today. That means hazardous boating conditions and the implementation of an idle-speed, no-wake zone to be in effect for a 32-mile segment of the river.

Under a joint agreement by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Suwannee River Water Management District, once river water levels reach predetermined heights, the idle-speed, no-wake zones automatically take effect.

Water management officials said that, based on recent rainfall and other data, they expect the Santa Fe will rise to 17 feet above mean sea level at the Three Rivers gauge. Flood stage at that point in the river is 19 feet. Under the agreement between the agencies, once the river reaches 17 feet at the Three Rivers gauge, the boating restrictions take effect.

Until further notice, the idle-speed, no-wake restriction will be in effect for boaters on the Santa Fe River from River Rise in O'Leno State Park west to the confluence of the Suwannee River.

"Water levels on the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers can fluctuate rapidly, especially with all the rain we've been getting lately," said Capt. Roy Brown, area supervisor of FWC's Lake City office. "These fluctuations can create navigational hazards for unsuspecting boaters, such as floating debris, submerged rocks and stumps and new shoaling conditions."

Real-time river level information is available at www.mysuwanneeriver.com.

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