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Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 6:00am

Beryl Boosts Okefenokee Levels

Tropical Depression Beryl was raising hopes in the Okefenokee Swamp that boat and canoe traffic could get back to normal with higher water levels.

Within the past three days, three rain gauges in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge had recorded rainfall totals between 3.75 inches and nearly 6 inches.

On May 24, the swamp was at 118.68 feet above sea level at the refuge headquarters. Tuesday, it reached 119.14 feet with rain still falling.

Arthur Webster, supervisory ranger at the refuge, said he'd like to see the water level reach 120 feet. He said the extra foot would allow the refuge to reopen some canoe trails and get its trail cutter into canals to clear them of vegetation so boats can get through.

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