Florida Department of Environmental Protection to hold Public Hearing: Tomoka Marsh
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Acquisition and Restoration Council will conduct a crucial public hearing to collect community input regarding the nomination for a new Florida Forever project encompassing the 1,200-acre Tomoka Marsh property in Ormond Beach. The hearing will commence at 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 5, 2023, in the county council chambers at the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center, 123 W. Indiana Avenue in DeLand.
The Florida Parks Service and St. Johns River Water Management District have formally applied for Florida Forever funding, positioning the project for eligibility in the esteemed Florida Forever program. This initiative aims to acquire the Tomoka Marsh property, expanding the adjoining 6,000 acres of conservation land. Notable components of this land mass include the well-regarded Bulow Creek State Park and North Peninsula State Park.
The Volusia Forever program had pinpointed the ecological significance of the Tomoka Marsh property, emphasizing its high-functioning coastal and estuarine wetlands. The Volusia County Council unanimously endorsed this property's acquisition as a priority on April 5, 2022.
Florida Forever, the state's premier conservation acquisition program, effectively manages an impressive 10 million acres for conservation. Since its inception in July 2001, Florida Forever has procured more than 897,785 acres of land, utilizing a substantial funding of $3.3 billion dedicated to land acquisition.
Volusia Forever, established in 2000 through a resounding vote by Volusia County citizens, levies a .2 mill tax over 20 years, demonstrating its commitment to preserving the county's natural biodiversity. In 2020, voters overwhelmingly renewed this commitment for an additional 20 years. To maximize the impact of allocated funds, Volusia Forever forms strategic partnerships with federal, state, water management districts, and local agencies that share a common dedication to safeguarding our invaluable natural resources. Since its inception, Volusia Forever has successfully acquired more than 38,000 acres, showcasing the effectiveness of this dedicated conservation initiative.
The public is strongly encouraged to engage in this vital hearing. The complete agenda and detailed Volusia Forever property evaluation results, the project report, and the application submitted to Florida Forever can be accessed online via Volusia Forever's website.
For additional information, interested parties can contact Community Services Director Brad Burbaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 386-943-7081, ext. 13455.