IN THE LOOP - OSLT March Newsletter - Connecting With Nature



Issue No. 14 / March, 2024

Connecting with Nature

Spring is here and the world is a buzz!  As you look around your own yard in preparation for spring activity, try to observe the natural relationships that exist between the plants, insects, animals and the greater environment as a whole. Creating habitats within our own yards is now vitally important as increased development continues to destroy the wild areas where much of the "birds and the bees" activity once took place.  Let's re-think overly neat yards that have few trees for habitat or shade, and which require inordinate amounts of water to maintain. Far too many of us have taken a "hands off" or "it's messy" approach to taking care of our yards, so let's reassess and commit to creating valuable habitats that support a multitude of living things in our own backyards!

 

How? If you have a large turf yard consider carving out some areas for native shrubs and other plantings that serve as habitats for birds and insects. Do you call the exterminator the minute you see a bug on your lanai?  Question your fear about spiders, bees and worms because without them our songbirds lose their food sources and plants aren't pollinated to create the fruit that birds eat. Bird feeders offer a wonderful source of nutrition for migrating birds and birdwatching - but you can offer a real respite by planting shrubby hedgerows that offer safe perching and secluded nesting areas.

 

And then there's the trees!  Nothing says "you're in the south" like our sculptural live oaks whose real beauty lies in the food and habitat they provide to hundreds of living organisms, including mammals, birds, insects, and other plants. Native cabbage palms are also wonderful in home landscapes but we're noticing a trend where landscapers are pruning them into silly mop heads.  Don't allow your landscaper to do this as it is very dangerous to the tree.  Ask them to follow the recommended rule of leaving the palms intact from "9 to 3 on the clock dial." This ensures the palm's health and also provides shelter for birds and saves some of the palm berries which are an important food source. 

 

The whole premise for initiating Volusia County's ReGrow the Loop program was to promote the restoration of habitat that has been lost - or that may be lost in the future due to an aging tree canopy. Residents who live along the Loop have been encouraged to plant native trees on their property and while response has been good, so much more remains to be done.  Let's all work together to make it happen whether on the Loop or off!

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The ReGrow the Loop initiative expires in June, after which the Volusia County Council will evaluate the program and decide whether or not to carry it forward into the next fiscal year. Don't miss the chance to attend the few remaining programs so that you, too, can help ReGrow the Loop!

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"Regrow the Loop" featured at Florida Scenic Highways Annual Workshop

On Thursday, March 7th representatives from Florida's Scenic Byway organizations came together at the picturesque Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora for the Florida Department of Transportation's Annual Scenic Highways Workshop. The theme for this year's meeting was "Partnerships" and along with several other Byway projects, the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail was highlighted for its involvement in Volusia County's ReGrow the Loop initiative.   

 

Nancy Galdo, Vice-Chair of the Ormond Scenic Loop Board, along with Kalan Taylor, UF/IFAS Extension Director for Volusia County, provided background on how the initiative "took root" and what the specific goals of the program were for both the OSLT and the County.  The presentation was very well received and was cited as a model that other scenic byways might follow to keep their Florida Scenic Highways intact and thriving for future generations.  Many thanks to both Nancy and Kalan for their generous involvement!

 

Pictured above from L to R:  Nancy Galdo, Vice-Chair of the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail Board; Dean Stoddart, Program Coordinator, Florida Scenic Highways FDOT Central Office and Kalan Taylor, UF/IFAS Volusia County Extension Director.

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Truck and Traffic Concerns

If you happen to be someone who frequently travels the Loop from Walter Boardman Drive over High Bridge to the beachside, you're probably becoming more and more concerned about the increased amount of traffic on the roadway.  With close to 5,000 new homes being built and planned between the Plantation Oaks development to the south and several recently approved communities to the north on Old Kings Road, this large influx of new residents threatens the integrity and safety of the Loop in one of its most environmentally sensitive sections. 

 

Walter Boardman and the High Bridge area are recreational destinations where people often line the roadway and bridges to fish, hike and bird watch.  For quite some time now, large construction trucks, moving vans and delivery vehicles have been ignoring the posted weight restrictions along this section. Additionally, there is increased concern about speeding motorists and motorcyclists who are passing each other along the narrow sections of Walter Boardman and High Bridge Roads.  It's not a stretch to say that the safety of those looking to access Bulow State Park to fish, hike or go birding in this beautiful area is a concern. 

 

There may come a time when concerted action is needed  to save this area from the destructive impacts of both development and a larger local population. As a first step, the Loop's Leadership Team plans to contact the County Sheriff to inquire about a greater police presence along the byway. We also recently met with Ben Bartlett, the Director of Public Works for Volusia County, to express our concerns and to ask how the County might help.  Not only is there speeding, littering and trucks ignoring weight requirements along the roadway, but the amount of traffic itself is changing the very nature of our beautiful byway.

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Keeping the Native Garden Going

Thank you to all who have participated in the clean-up and planting of the Tomoka State Park's Native Plant Garden!  Volunteers from the Pawpaw Chapter of the Native Plant Society, Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail, Tillandsia Garden Club, Tomoka State Park volunteers, Ranger David Jones, Friends of Tomoka Basin State Parks and a master gardener from the University of Florida/IFAS recently planted five Darrow Blueberries, one Firebush, one Elderberry tree, Coreopsis lancelota and Rusty Lyonia. We're so excited that this project is taking off and making a difference in the Park!   

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The Start of Seawalls and Roadwork 

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It's going to be a busy year along A1A.  From the secant seawalls on the north end of A1A to crosswalks and repaving from Roberta Road northward, expect disruptions along this area of the Loop for the coming months.

 

Beginning the week of March 18th, residents can expect to see construction-related activity for the first of the two, buried seawall projects along State Road (S.R.) A1A in Flagler and Volusia counties. The contractor plans to place construction-related signage in Flagler County from just north of South Central Avenue in Flagler Beach and extend south to just below the Volusia/Flagler county line.  Following the signage placement, it is anticipated the construction team will begin working on Thursday, March 21, to shift the travel lanes on S.R. A1A a few feet to the west within the existing asphalt. The traffic shift will allow two-way traffic to continue during the construction of the buried seawall. This work will require a single-lane closure with flagging operations from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day. 

 

During construction, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will send out regular updates. Information will also be available on the project webpage at www.cflroads.com/project/452444-1. If you have questions, you can contact Community Outreach Coordinator Amber Mullins at amber.mullins@dot.state.fl.us.

 

Additionally, FDOT recently held a public meeting outlining upcoming roadwork along A1A from Roberta Road in Ormond Beach northward to the Volusia/Flagler County line.  Construction will include pedestrian enhancements and repaving. To find out more visit:  https://www.cflroads.com/project/450946-1

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Our March Meeting - Join Us!

Wednesday, March 27th; 5:30 pm
Ormond Beach Public Library, Sandpiper Room
30 South Beach Street
Ormond Beach FL 32174

 

Doors open at 5 pm and the meetings starts at 5:30.   

To Attend Remotely:

For those attending remotely,  please sign on 15 minutes early.  We have had some audio difficulty getting everyone online so our Team will be working out any technical difficulty before the 5:30 meeting starts.

Join on your computer, mobile app or room device

Click here to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 372 442 791 167
Passcode: ZhewPz

Download Teams | Join on the web

Join with a video conferencing device

130865883@t.plcm.vc

Video Conference ID: 125 998 255 3

Alternate VTC instructions

Or call in (audio only)

+1 321-430-1064,,437455412#   United States, Orlando

(844) 603-6058,,437455412#   United States (Toll-free)

Phone Conference ID: 437 455 412#

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Learn More | Meeting options455 412#

 

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The Mission of the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail Byway organization is to protect and enhance the Loop by serving as a focused source of education, community outreach and enhancements projects consistent with our volunteer resources and guidelines of the Florida Scenic Highway and National Scenic Byway programs.

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VISIT OUR WEBSITE

ormondscenicloopandtrail.com

Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail Corridor Management Entity, Inc.

P.O. Box 1807, Ormond Beach  32175

OrmondScenicLoop@gmail.com

#OrmondScenicLoop

 





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