USDA Awards $25 Million for Lake to Lagoon Program, preserving ecosystems in Central Florida

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — In a significant boost for the Lake to Lagoon regional conservation partnership program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted $25 million to support the conservation of sensitive agricultural lands and enhance climate resiliency through strategic land management.


Volusia County, a crucial participant in the initiative, is set to play a key role in the program aimed at preserving the diverse ecosystems of the Lake to Lagoon area.

Comprising the low-lying counties of Volusia, Lake, and Flagler, this region is not only home to over a million residents but also boasts a rich diversity of wildlife, wildlands, rural farms, and timberlands.

Leading the Lake to Lagoon program is the Alachua Conservation Trust, in collaboration with Volusia County and Stetson University’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience.

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Volusia County stands out as the largest contributor, having allocated $20 million in matching funds through the voter-approved Volusia Forever program.

The Lake to Lagoon partnership extends beyond Volusia County, with key players including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, St. Johns River Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, North Florida Prescribed Burn Association, Friends of Wekiva, West Volusia Audubon, and the Riverside Conservancy.

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“Through this innovative public-private partnership, Volusia County will be able to provide farmers, ranchers, and foresters with an alternative to selling their land for development and allow them to maintain it for agricultural production in perpetuity,” said Land Acquisition Manager Tim Telfer.

The Lake to Lagoon program is set to begin in 2024 and will continue through 2029.

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