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

Economic Impacts of Water Quality: A Discussion on the Devastating Effects of HABs and Urgent Need for Policy Advocacy

The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting an informative discussion titled “The Economic Impacts of Water Quality” 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.

During the discussion, Matt DePaolis, the environmental policy director at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), 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 SCCF. 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 that Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) have devastating economic consequences in Lee County alone, estimated to result in $195 million in losses in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures within a year, with potential job losses totaling 24,808 and an estimated loss in output of $3 billion. Additionally, property values are also at risk with an estimated $3.8 billion in losses and $21.4 million in lost property tax revenue. Furthermore, non-market recreation or quality of life is valued at approximately $5.3 billion according to SCCF’s research findings.

As Policy Director at SCCF, DePaolis uses his expertise in environmental and marine biology to advocate for effective policies based on SCCF’s scientific research findings while leveraging his background as a field biologist in Florida, Bahamas and Guyana as well as earning a master’s degree in marine biology and JD with a focus on ocean and coastal law from University Oregon before joining SCCF he held roles such as Coastal Policy Analyst Fellow at University Florida’s Center for Coastal Solutions where he researched climate litigation fisheries policy issues, marine pollution solutions among other areas that has equipped him with unique skills to help fight for environmental conservation efforts


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