Both the Suwannee River at White Springs and the Santa Fe River near Fort White are above flood stages but should fall below flood levels in the next few days.
Flood results from rain in Hamilton and Columbia counties, which recorded 20 to 25 inches of rain, and there is no threat of water surging from Georgia. That minimizes the flooding, but White Springs is at 84.5 feet, 7.5 feet above flood stage. By July 4, it is expected to drop to 77 feet.
The Santa Fe River near Fort White is 30.83 feet, nearly seven feet above flood stage. It is expected to return to 28 feet on July 7.
At Three Rivers Estates, the Santa Fe River is slightly over flood stage at 19.09 feet. It may crest on July 7 at 24.6 feet.
The U.S. 27 bridge over the Santa Fe was closed at noon.
Flood conditions are not forecast at Dowling Park, at Branford, or Manatee Springs.
Georgia officials report that the Okefenokee Swamp is again filled with water.
No-wake zone on Santa Fe River
A 32-mile segment of the Santa Fe River is now an idle-speed, no-wake zone, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials.
The FWC applied the boating restrictions to Zone 5, which runs from River Rise in O'Leno State Park, west to the confluence of the Suwannee River, because of rising water levels from Tropical Storm Debby.
This area of the river becomes an idle-speed, no-wake zone when the Santa Fe River reaches 17 feet above mean sea level at the Three Rivers gauge, where flood stage is 19 feet.
“The Santa Fe reached 17.16 feet today,” said Capt. Martin Redmond, 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 steerage 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.
FWC officers will patrol this area of the river to ensure the idle-speed, no-wake zone is enforced, Redmond said.
“Water levels on the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers can fluctuate rapidly, creating for unsuspecting boaters navigational hazards, such as floating debris, submerged rocks and stumps and new shoaling conditions. We want everyone to be safe,” Redmond said.
The idle-speed, no-wake zone stays 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 feet.
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.