Water-Related News

Brown water begins to plague water off Sanibel Lighthouse

Water releases from Lake Okeechobee flow down the river into the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico every year, releases often increasing during the rainy season. The more rain we get, the more water is usually released from the lake preventing overflows from the aging Herbert Hoover Dike. During drier seasons, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works to maintain the water level of the dike in an effort slow releases in the summer months.

The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) released aerial video southeast of Sanibel’s Lighthouse Point from September 21, 2020; In the video, there is a line of brown water, showing where the freshwater meets the usual blue water from the Gulf of Mexico.

The brown water is from natural tannins produced by plants and soil that stains the water, according to the scientists at SCCF. Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Sally dumped about a foot of rain across parts of the Caloosahatchee River watershed, which increased freshwater releases.