Published: Aug 22, 2013 11:57 AM EDT
Updated: Aug 22, 2013 5:24 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Growing concern about dark brown water invading Southwest Florida waterways has local lawmakers speaking up. This afternoon, a Senate select committee begins investigating the water releases from Lake Okeechobee. Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane and Fort Myers Beach Mayor Alan Mandel are both in Stuart for that meeting today.

The mayors share the same concern: cleaning up the brown water to keep locals happy, and continue bringing visitors to Southwest Florida. Those concerns sparked today's meeting of a select Senate committee.

This afternoon, they'll begin hearing testimony on water management from Lake Okeechobee. Water releases have become a serious concern for Southwest Floridians, who want to preserve local waterways and keep freshwater from Lake O out of the Gulf.

Mayor Mandel said the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce has already seen a high number of cancellations for the tourist season.

Both mayors are urging citizens to e-mail members of the House of Representatives and urge them to pass a bill that will give $1 billion to keep Lake O water away from the Caloosahatchee.