For immediate release: June 1, 2015
Media contact: Andrew Walker, Foundation President & CEO, 941 809-7805 or awalker@wildlifeflorida.org
Photos available upon request.

Foundation awarded $550,800 ECHO Grant for Mosquito Lagoon Marine Enhancement Center

The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida announces that the Volusia County Council approved an ECHO Grant to the Foundation and Foundation conservation partners with a total value of $550.800. The funds will be used to continue building the Mosquito Lagoon Marine Enhancement Center in New Smyrna Beach. This site, like others around the state, is part of a long-term plan to support the future of Florida’s recreational fishing.

The Volusia ECHO program provides grant funds to finance acquisition, restoration, construction or improvement of facilities to be used for “environmental, cultural, historical and outdoor” (ECHO) recreational purposes.This is the second ECHO Grant awarded to the Foundation for this project.

”We started with the abandoned high school site almost 10 years ago,” said Foundation Executive Director Brett Boston. “It just goes to show what a dedicated group of partners, especially Marine Discovery Center and Artist’s Workshop, can accomplish with vision and perseverance.”

This second round of funds will be used to construct an amphitheater, pavilion with restrooms, kayak storage, hard and soft trails with exercise stations and major landscaping throughout the 22-acre site.

“It is a great day for all of us,” said Marine Discovery Center Executive Director Chad Truxall. “The ongoing support from Volusia County validates all our hard work and the importance of Marine Discovery Center, located on the property.”

Foundation Chairman Rodney Barreto said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been building its statewide Marine Enhancement Centers for some time.

“The Mosquito Lagoon initiative proves that a private-public partnership can get the job done. We all need to work together for a sustainable future and remain the fishing capital of the world,” Barreto said. “Effectively balancing fish and wildlife needs with the needs of 20 million residents and the millions of visitors who share the land and water with Florida’s wildlife is our challenge.”

“The Mosquito Lagoon Marine Enhancement Center continues to grow and is our model for the entire state. We can all share another great Florida conservation success story, because of this teamwork,” Barreto said.

For information on the ECHO grant, go to http://www.volusia.org/services/community-services/parks-recreation-and-culture/echo/.

About the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida

The FWFF is a 501c3 nonprofit started in 1994 as the citizen support group for what is now the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Its mission is to partner with the FWC to ensure the conservation and enhancement of Florida’s fish and wildlife resources so they survive and thrive for current and future generations of Florida residents and visitors. “Florida is like no other place on earth, working together we can keep it that way.”

For more information on the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida and how every Florida resident or guest can support the Foundation, visit WildlifeFoundationofFlorida.com