Harmful Algae Blooms: The Hidden Economic Cost in Southwest Florida

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

The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting an event titled “The Economic Impacts of Water Quality” and welcomes the public 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 (SCCF), will present the results of a 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 SCCF.

The study revealed that Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) have significant economic losses for Lee County alone, amounting 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. Furthermore, non-market recreation (quality of life) lost was estimated at $5.3 billion due to HABs.

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

Join us for this informative event to learn more about how water quality affects our economy!

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