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April 6 Discussion: Analyzing the Economic Effects of Water Quality | News, Sports, Jobs


Mar 27, 2024

The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting an informative discussion titled “The Impacts of Water Quality on the Economy” and invites both the public and League members to attend. The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 6 from 9 to 11 a.m. at The Collaboratory located at 2031 Jackson St. in Fort Myers. The program will begin at 9:30 a.m. and attendees can choose to participate in person or via Zoom. To register for the event, individuals can visit Eventbrite, send an email to lwvlee@lwvlee.org, or call 239-278-1032.

During the discussion, Matt DePaolis, the environmental policy director at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, will present the economic impact findings from a recent study titled Impacts of Water Quality on the Southwest Florida Economy. The study was conducted by Greene Economics on behalf of Captains for Clean Water, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. DePaolis will also provide recommendations for policy advocacy and community engagement based on the study’s findings.

One of the key findings from the study is the devastating economic consequences of Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs). In Lee County alone, it is estimated that another HAB could result in $195 million in losses in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures. Additionally, there could be potential job losses totaling 24,808 within a year, with an estimated loss in output of $3 billion. Property values are also at risk, with an estimated $3.8 billion in losses and $21.4 million in lost property tax revenue. The study also highlights the value of non-market recreation (or, quality of life), which is estimated to be $5.3 billion.

As the Policy Director at SCCF, DePaolis leverages his expertise in environmental and marine biology to advocate for effective policies based on SCCF’s scientific research. His background includes work as a field biologist in Florida, the Bahamas, and Guyana, as well as earning a master’s degree in marine biology and a J.D. with a focus on ocean and coastal law from the University of Oregon. Prior to joining SCCF, DePaolis held roles such as Coastal Policy Analyst Fellow at the University of Florida’s Center for Coastal Solutions and researched climate litigation, fisheries policy issues, and marine pollution solutions at various organizations.

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