STUART, Fla. - Nearly 50 Treasure Coast residents are preparing to hit the road and head to Washington, D.C. next week.
It’s all an effort to keep pressure on federal lawmakers to do something about the toxic water in area waterways.
U.S Congressman Patrick Murphy personally invited anyone affected by the toxic water in the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon to make the trip to Washington, D.C. earlier in August.
They will be supporting the lagoon, and also local lagoon experts who will have the opportunity to tell federal officials how big the toxic water problem is.
Nyla Pipes is one of those making her travel plans. "It's so exciting to be a part of real change happening."
She spent the day Friday painting buckets that she’ll use to collect money to go to the capital. She’ll pass them around at a river rally on Saturday to raise money to send nearly 50 people on a bus to Washington, D.C.
"We're going to get hopefully bucket loads of money to send us to DC."
She looks forward to a rare opportunity to make a presence in front of federal lawmakers.
"I don't know any different than to stand up for mother earth," Pipes explained.
Mark Perry, Executive Director of the Florida Oceanographic Society, will also make the trip to speak directly to lawmakers and federal officials.
"I’m going to try to say, this is how bad it is, and honestly it's been going on for too long," Perry said.
He’s going in with a plan of how to most effectively tell lawmakers about the impact water releases from Lake Okeechobee have on marine life, health, and the economy along the Treasure Coast.
"You can't overload too much. You only want to take about five minutes or so," Perry explained.
In that five minutes, he says he’ll show maps and diagrams, but really focus on an open discussion. He has a wealth of knowledge that he wants to share, with hopes it will lead to a solution.
"It's going to take years to get it started. We have to start it somewhere," said Perry.
Pipes will also be raising money at a car wash for the bus trip on Sunday. The car wash will be held at the Auto Zone in Port St. Lucie at 10490 S. Federal Hwy. It will run from 10am-12pm.
Pipes hopes to raise $8000 for the bus and hotel stays. Any extra proceeds will go towards other rally events, including billboards.
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