We are fortunate to live in this special place — in fact, many people call Brevard their own piece of paradise. Our natural lands are unique and irreplaceable. They contribute to the health of our environment, our economy, our families and the aesthetic values of our county.

If you’ve visited Cruickshank Sanctuary in Rockledge to see a scrub jay, kayaked the Thousand Islands in Cocoa Beach or visited the Sea Turtle/Barrier Island Sanctuary, you’ve experienced one of Brevard’s Environmentally Endangered Lands.

These areas are pristine and natural today because the people of Brevard County decided to conserve and nurture these lands for families and future generations.

In 1990, residents voted to create and fund a program to acquire, improve and maintain wildlife habitat, wetlands, woodlands and lands that protect the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Johns River.

In 2004, voters approved renewal of the program. This November, renewal of the county program will be on the ballot. If renewed by voters, this ongoing conservation effort will continue a property tax, costing the average Brevard County homeowner only $3.60 a month.

Since 1991, the program has preserved 28,000 acres of land — 2% of the total acreage of Brevard County. The program additionally protected 35 miles of Indian River Lagoon shorelines, established three nature and educational centers and created 75 miles of public use trails for hiking, bicycling, fishing, paddling and more for residents and visitors.

Why is this important? Land conservation protects natural spaces for wildlife, fish, woodlands and birds. Economic benefits include sound property values, tourism and attracting companies and employees who wish to live in our naturally thriving community. Recreational and nature educational sites and opportunities are available from Titusville to Grant, enhancing the quality of life. The treasured Indian River Lagoon also benefits from the reduction in pollution and shoreline preservation.

We are fortunate to live in this special place — a paradise worthy of preservation. For more information, visit EELBrevard.com.