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How Water Quality Affects the Economy: A Discussion on April 6 | News, Sports, Jobs

Byeditor

Mar 27, 2024

The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting an event titled “The Impacts of Water Quality on the Economy” and welcomes both the public and League members to join. The event will take place on Saturday, April 6 from 9 to 11 a.m. at The Collaboratory 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, interested individuals can visit Eventbrite, send an email to lwvlee@lwvlee.org, or call 239-278-1032.

During the event, Matt DePaolis, the environmental policy director at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, will present the results of the recent study on the economic impacts of water quality in Southwest Florida. The study was conducted by Greene Economics and commissioned by Captains for Clean Water, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

The study revealed the significant economic losses that can result from Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs). In Lee County alone, these losses amount to $195 million in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures. Additionally, an estimated 24,808 jobs could be lost in a year, with an estimated loss in output of $3 billion. Property values could see a decrease of $3.8 billion, resulting in a loss of $21.4 million in property tax revenue. The study also estimated the value of non-market recreation (quality of life) lost to be $5.3 billion.

DePaolis, in his role as Policy Director at SCCF, utilizes his expertise in environmental and marine biology to advocate for policies based on the organization’s scientific research. He has a background as a field biologist in Florida, the Bahamas, and Guyana, and holds a master’s in marine biology and a J.D. with a focus on ocean and coastal law from the University of Oregon. Prior to his current position, DePaolis has worked on various environmental policy issues with organizations such as the United Nations and the Wild Salmon Center, focusing on climate litigation, fisheries policy, and water quality regulations.

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