Aerial footage taken by NBC2 shows a clear divide between the beach’s water condition. One side has clear water, the other has brown, murky water near the shoreline.
Screenshot of NBC2 video
Sanibel is a popular beach getaway for all the stressed-out people in South Florida.
But now there is something to get stressed out about in Sanibel: murky water along the beachfront.
Aerial footage taken by local news outlets this week shows a clear divide in the island’s water condition. One side has clear water, the other has brown water near the shoreline.
The brown water was caused by a spike in freshwater runoff following the areas recent heavy rainfall, according to NBC2, and could lead to algae blooms developing.
It could also be bad for your health.
James Douglass, associate professor of marine science at Florida Gulf Coast University, told NBC2 there’s no extreme threat at the moment, but that could change if it continues.
“There is a concern, and there’s a heightened risk for algae blooms and infections when your in water that has run rapidly off the land,” Douglass told the news station.
The dark water could also affect clams, oysters and seagrass, Wink News reports.
The Mote Marine Laboratory provides estimate beach condition reports for select beaches on the southwest coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle. These reports are “subjective” and are meant to tell beachgoers which beach they might like to visit at a particular time.
The beaches considered to be in Sanibel Island are Lighthouse Beach, Gulfside City Park, Tarpon Beach, Bowman’s Beach and Blind Pass Beach, according to The Islands of Sanibel Captiva website.
Of those beaches, the laboratory only has records for two of the five beaches, as of Thursday morning:
▪ Lighthouse Beach is “dark,” which means it has thick or murky water.
▪ Bowman’s Beach is “moderate,” which means the water has a light tint.
There are no advisories or warning in Lee County’s Department of Health website for the area.
The county’s Florida Healthy Beaches Program also tested Lighthouse Beach, Bowman’s Beach, and Blind Pass Beach this week and found them to be in “good” condition. Sanibal Causeway was also tested and found to be in “good” condition, but there was no recent reports for Gulfside City Park.
It’s still unclear if the discoloration is affecting other Sanibel and Captiva beaches.
Lee County’s Department of Health was not immediately available for comment. The city of Sanibel was not immediately available for comment.