Brown Water is Back

St. Lucie Inlet

Courtesy Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

Brown water is bad What’s in it is worse

By Tyler Treadway

Coffee-colored water now spreads throughout the St. Lucie River into the southern Indian River Lagoon, out the St. Lucie Inlet and south several miles along the Atlantic Coast beaches.

The water is a combination of rainfall runoff from western Martin and St. Lucie counties and Lake Okeechobee discharges since Hurricane Irma struck in September.

Farther north, about 20 billion gallons of post-Irma rainwater runoff has poured out the C-54 Canal along the Indian River-Brevard county line and into the lagoon.

In between, brown water from western farmland extends into the lagoon from the mouth of Taylor Creek north of Fort Pierce.

“What’s worse than the color of the water is what’s in the water,” said Grant Gilmore, a marine biologist who’s studied life in the lagoon for more than 40 years.

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