STUART, Fla. - Death to the Indian River Lagoon!
That was the message Treasure Coast residents wanted to get out to lawmakers as they held a mock funeral for the polluted river.
Outraged and angered, they came out by the dozens to Phipps Park Saturday, dressed in black, to pay their respects to a water system they say will die if lawmakers don’t step in.
"Nobody wants to have to go to a funeral. I mean it means you’re losing something you love,” said Kate Wood.
Wood’s love for the Indian River Lagoon is what made her move down to Stuart 20 years ago.
Today, she rally’s with the crowd hoping to save her back yard treasure.
"That same beautiful water looks like three day old coffee and it's poisonous," said Woods, "Seeing the algae blooms and fish kill and sick animals, it's devastating. It's a terrible thing."
The funeral included a full procession lead by a hearse and a bag pipe player.
Video from up above captures people mourning around an empty casket, symbolizing the lagoon.
Organizers and county leaders spoke passionately, hoping lawmakers in Washington would hear their cries and force the Army Corps of Engineers to stop releasing toxic water.
Dawn Shirreffs, with the Everglades Foundation said, "It's really symbolic to say that the River is dying. That's not an exaggeration. We're actually actively killing the River every time we release these discharges from lake Okeechobee.”