VENICE, Fla. - People living in or visiting Southwest Florida are fed up with brown water.
Many blame the murkey tide and the algae blooms on fresh water releases from Lake Okeechobee.
Wink news spoke with artist and environmental activist, Clyde Butcher, who has spent three decades exploring and documenting Florida's waterways.
"It's a very fragile state. People don't realize how fragile it is," said Butcher.
For more than thirty years, the world renowned photographer has been capturing the beauty of the Southwest Florida eco-sysytem, a system he fears will be destroyed if fresh water releases from Lake Okeechobee continue.
"Florida was based on agriculture before tourism and do whatever they had to do to make agriculture work they did and now we are paying the consequences," he said.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the water releases are necessary to keep the dike around the lake safe. Butcher, who has spent years wading though the Everglades, says he has a solution.
"Buy 30,000 acres east of Labelle and make a cleaning system," he said.
A cleaning system he says occurs in nature all on its own.
"The only way you're gonna solve this is with marshes," he said.
Butcher insists by building a very large swamp, all the fresh water could stay out of the Caloosahatchee and even do some good.
"You'd have more birds, more wildlife. It would bring a whole new ecological system to Florida," he stated.
He says the residents of Southwest Florida need to band together before the problem gets any worse.
"I don't see any other solution other than we take care of it ourselves. you can sit around and wait for 20 years and you'll have all the sea grass dead, the tourism will be dead."