Water color changes due to Lake Okeechobee releases

Reporter: Annalise Iraola
Published: Updated:

A tale of two seas. On one side, crisp teal water. On the other, water that is murky and dark brown.

That’s how the water looked on Monday.

The contrast in water quality can happen with water releases from Lake Okeechobee.

It’s not a pleasant sight for visitors.

The water on Fort Myers Beach is great for fishing, splashing and cooling off, but some worry about how the water looks.

Craig Stripe comes to Southwest Florida every year to collect shells, so he counts on the water being true blue.

He was asked if the murky water had ever impacted his ability to find shells.

“I’m debating that it may have, like today, didn’t find much of anything,” he said.

A week ago, the Calusa Waterkeeper took a picture off the coast of Sanibel. Dark brown, it’s a harsh contrast between the beautiful blue gulf waters.

CREDIT: Ralph Arwood & Calusa Waterkeeper

On February 17, the Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water from Lake O, enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool every 22 seconds.

The good news is that our gulf waters appear to be clearing up. That could be because the Lake O releases are on hold until Thursday.

The Army Corps of Engineers maintains that it’s vital to release water from Lake O to reduce the water level before the rainy season begins.

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