Letters to the Editor: North Florida Land Trust urges ‘yes’ vote on ECHO and Volusia Forever

Editor, The Beacon:

In the upcoming election, Volusia County voters will be asked to renew Volusia Forever and Volusia ECHO. The North Florida Land Trust urges you to vote “yes.”

The citizen-led measures were passed in 2000 and have helped to improve the quality of life for Volusia residents. There is still much more that needs to be done to ensure Volusia’s natural spaces are protected. The county will need the support of these two programs.

For the past 20 years, NFLT has worked to bring funding to conservation projects around the state. Local support goes a long way when you are looking for matching dollars at the state or federal level.

The population in Volusia County is expected to grow by 200,000 over the next 50 years. That could mean 92,000 acres could be lost to development, resulting in up to 200 million gallons a day of increased groundwater withdrawal, and that would have a major impact on places like Gemini and Blue springs.

Protecting land around the county’s springs, rivers and lakes will help prevent flooding from storms and improve water quality throughout the county.

About 17,000 acres of land in Florida Forever areas and more than 200 historic, cultural and recreational sites in Volusia County could be in jeopardy if Volusia Forever and Volusia ECHO are not renewed.

The county needs to continue the momentum, and voters need to renew their commitment to Volusia’s quality of life with a “yes” vote for Volusia Forever and Volusia ECHO.

Jim McCarthy

Jacksonville

— McCarthy is the president of the North Florida Land Trust.