MAUI, Hawaii – The water at Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge on the Hawaiian island of Maui has turned a bright pink color.
Videos and photos taken at the refuge show the rich pink color of the water, particularly in contrast to the green vegetation and blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Photographer Travis Morrin called the pink water "Pepto Bismol colored" in an Instagram post, where he shared photos of the pond.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff at the refuge have kept a close eye on the pink water since Oct. 30. They said they have been working with the Hawaii State Department of Aquatic Resources and Department of Health to determine what is causing the water to turn pink.
According to USFWS, preliminary analysis of water samples showed the culprit is a single-celled organism called halobacteria. Halobacteria love salt and are found in bodies of water with high salinity.
Officials said the salinity in the Keālia Pond outlet is currently more than 70 parts per thousand, or twice the saltiness of seawater, which is allowing the halobacteria to thrive.
This high salinity may be the result of drought, said local officials.
According to NOAA and the National Integrated Drought Information System, the entire island of Maui is currently facing a drought, with the region that includes the Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge under extreme drought conditions, which is a Level 3 out of 4 on the U.S. Drought Monitor scale.
Original article source: See it: Pond in Hawaii turns 'Pepto Bismol' pink and drought could be to blame