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Closer look: 'Dry-down' of Lake Jackson unearths two human skulls

Posted at 9:22 AM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 09:22:22-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Two human skulls found in an area normally covered by water are now bringing attention to the Lake Jackson dry down.

The remains were found Sunday off Faulk Drive in Leon County; only now visible because the water in that part of the lake is gone.

Lake Jackson was drained by two sinkholes under the lake. Every so often, they open up taking the water with it.

"This the fourth time I've seen this lake dry," said James Johnson.

Despite the lack of water, Johnson made his normal trip to the lake in hopes of finding his catch of the day.

Johnson says his family has fished in these waters for generations.

"My family always talked about how it goes and comes," he said.

Northwest Florida Water Management says the first documented disappearance of the lake's water was in May of 1907.

In September of 1999, most of the water on the southern portion of Lake Jackson drained through Porter Hole Sink. It goes dry on average every 25 years.

"It's a natural occurrence where the water just drains from the basin," said Leon County Commission Chairman Rick Minor.

There is some good that comes with the draining. It removes that muck and sediment, creating a better environment for fish to return.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection spent the day surveying the area, preparing to study it once again.

"I was there this morning and we found a lot of bottles, cans, beer tops from the 1970s. Now's the best time to get out there and clean it up," said Chairman Minor.

Commissioner Rick Minor says this draining also presents the county with another opportunity.

"We're going to be working with FDEP and other agencies to promote litter cleanups of the lake bed," he said. "We'll go out in kayaks every year to clean up Lake Jackson. When the lake bed is dry, that's the best time."

Those cleanups have not yet been scheduled, but when they do happen, people will be able to sign up on the county's website to help.