River-Users & SFR Landowners, Important Message & Video

This video tape was made on Memorial Day weekend, 2015, by David Brown, property owner on the Santa Fe River near the confluence with the Ichetucknee River.  OSFR is sharing it in the interest of education about the boat traffic conditions on the lower Santa Fe.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FFWC or FWC) will hold a “no wake” meeting on July 9 at 6 pm at Fort White Community Center near the school’s ball fields.

This is a very important opportunity for citizen participation in a government meeting that will assist the FWC Agency to decide the trigger for flood conditions with respect to boat wakes.

If you use the river for any of the following recreational uses: swimming, diving, fishing, power boating, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, birding, or just nature contemplation,  you need to come to this meeting. The FWC requests your input, and they will listen to you and record your comments. Come prepared to fill out a card, as the Santa Fe River which has no voice needs yours. This meeting is the extended deadline and this will probably be your last opportunity to speak about the flood trigger level for a “no wake.”

FWC is primarily interested in safety, and rightly so; please keep your comments directed toward your experiences with safety on the Santa Fe River.  Additionally, landowners and OSFR are also concerned about river bank erosion caused by boat wake and flooding, especially in the lower stretches downriver from the confluence of the Ichetucknee.

OSFR agrees that the river needs to be divided into four zones because of the variability of water levels during flood stage.

We need you to attend this important meeting and we need your input. For those who cannot attend please call or email your concerns about raising the flood stage trigger for “no wake” enforcement. We would like the trigger to be lowered by 3′ from the current standard (this level was  originaly requested in 2006 when the  current”no wake” level was created.)  OSFR wants FWC  to consider  adopting a “no wake” during all water levels on the entire stretch of the lower Santa Fe River from the confluence of the Suwannee River up to River Rise above the US 441 bridge near High Springs.

As can be seen in the video above, non-powered users of the lower Santa Fe, such as kayaks, canoes, tubes, swimmers and divers are at peril due to  motor boat use.  OSFR is not opposed to motor boat use on the Santa Fe River, we are concerned about the  unsafe enormous wake caused by powered craft.  We want harmony  on our tranquil waters with safety being our priority.  A “no wake” or idle speed will make our waters safe for everyone’s enjoyment.

You can  contact Captain Gary Klein, Division of Law Enforcement, Boating and Waterways Section, 620 South Meridian St., Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600, (850) 488-5600, or email: ([email protected])

 

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The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Division of Law Enforcement’s Boating and Waterways Section, announces a public workshop to which all persons are invited.

 DATE AND TIME: Thursday, July 9, 2015, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

 PLACE:  Fort White Community Center, 17579 SW State Road 47, Fort White, FL 32038

 PURPOSE: The purpose and effect of this workshop is to address possible rule changes to Rule 68D-24.020, Florida Administrative Code (Suwannee and Santa Fe River Boating Restricted Areas) affecting vessel speed during flood conditions within the Santa Fe River, and dividing the river into four (4) independent zones for the purpose of regulating vessel speed during flood events; activating and deactivating the zones independently, which would more accurately reflect the public safety needs during various flood events occurring within the basin, referencing current United States Geological Survey river stage gauges and datum, and raising the trigger level in the lower portion of the Santa Fe River basin  to more closely align with the official river flood stage as was intended by current Florida law from 17’ to 18’.

A copy of the agenda may be obtained by visiting MyFWC.com/Boating and look up “Workshops” under the heading “Waterway Management.”  Additional information will be posted as it becomes available.  You can also contact Captain Gary Klein, Division of Law Enforcement, Boating and Waterways Section, 620 South Meridian St., Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600, (850) 488-5600, or email: ([email protected])
videoboat

8 Comments

  1. according to those who live in these lower SFR and Iche communities residents of TREPO, IRHPA, Cypress Shores and Ira B. Oasis, even Wilson Springs and Hollingsworth Bluff tell us that river has always had motored vehicles, but in the last 10 years it has become this. They used to do float trips in tubes and canoes. They used to swim into the center of the river and catch the current and swim against it for fun. Now they wouldn’t dream of it. They used to enjoy sitting on their docks, now if their dock is in stable condition or there at all, they only venture to do this during the week. The weekends are off limits for enjoyment. Many have retreat homes here, but they will never retreat on weekends any more, they come during the week, which often means they have to conform their work schedule to enjoy their riverfront home. Some bought the retreat home to move here one day, now that is no longer as enjoyable. They want their river back. OSFR intends to help in this process. Follow us on our website or FB page for more updates. We have a free website subscription service you can sign up for easily.

  2. This is about safety (wakes, blind corners, helter skelter manner of what side of the river to stay on), air quality (the air is so strong with gasoline and oil by mid afternoon), water quality (the engines leave the distinct streams of oil on the surface of the water and the turbidity is so foul it’s a wonder if anyone can fish), noise pollution (the noise level for one boat is hard enough on an enjoyable time by the water, but the experience of one every 30 seconds on a busy day will make you stay further away from this end of our quiet and peaceful Santa Fe) and this is about soil erosion (the banks have lost a tremendous amount of sand that historically have held the trees and plants into the shore and as a result of the degradation, creating something akin to flotsam and jetsam ).

  3. Report no wake violations, please pre-program your phone: Call 888-404-FWCC, push 7, (while on the water or anytime) Get some sort of markings of boat to identify abuser. FWC really wants letters and numbers or name of boat.
    If you suspect a fish, wildlife, boating, or environmental law violation, report it to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Reward Program: 888-404-FWCC (3922).
    Cell phone users can reach us at *FWC or #FWC, depending on your service provider.

  4. Please feel free to correct me but it seems as if most of these “boaters” do not live on or near the river. There wanton disregard for property and lives is quite disgusting.

  5. Watching that is intense! There is no way anyone is safe. A no wake boating rule would enable everyone to use the rivers. Good grief it has to a a manatee hamburger festival below surface.

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