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Flooding, strong currents hamper recreation in lower Kissimmee Basin

For immediate release: October 13, 2011
Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3200

Flooding, strong currents hamper recreation in lower Kissimmee Basin

Those looking for recreational relief on the Kissimmee River may have to use a little patience during the next few weeks. As far as rain events go, this was a doozy.

Five days after torrential storms dropped more than 14 inches of rain on portions of Central Florida, locks south of State Road 60 to Lake Okeechobee remain closed to navigation by emergency order, issued by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) on Oct. 11.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds boaters, which includes alligator hunters, anglers, canoeists and campers, that the SFWMD has issued a public safety warning urging boaters not to use the river after the record-breaking rainfall event. Semi-submerged objects, propelled by fast-moving currents, can have a missile-like effect on a boat’s hull or the lower unit of its motor. Everyone boating in any portion of the Kissimmee Basin is reminded that wearing a life jacket is the best insurance policy a boater has in helping avoid the dire consequences of an accident.

Although KICCO Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and the Kissimmee Public Use Area (PUA) remain open, some roads within those areas that lead to backcountry adventure may temporarily be closed due to flooding. Other popular access points on the river and some public boat ramps may be closed until floodwaters recede to safe levels.

Check MyFWC.com/News or http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/sfwmdmain/news for information and updates.