Unveiling the Devastating Impacts of Water Quality on Lee County’s Economy: A Discussion Hosted by the League of Women Voters

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

The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting an informative discussion titled “The Impacts of Water Quality on the Economy”. This event is open to the public and members of the league, and it will take place on 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 Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), will present economic impact findings from a recent study titled Impacts of Water Quality on the Southwest Florida Economy. This study was conducted by Greene Economics on behalf of Captains for Clean Water, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and SCCF. DePaolis will also provide recommendations for policy advocacy and community engagement based on the study’s findings.

One of the key findings from this study is that Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) pose devastating economic consequences to Lee County alone. It is estimated that another HAB could result in $195 million in losses in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures alone. 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 alone. Moreover, non-market recreation or quality of life is valued at approximately $5 billion dollars.

As Policy Director at SCCF since July 2017, DePaolis uses his expertise in environmental science and marine biology to advocate for effective policies based on SCCF’s scientific research findings. He has worked as a field biologist in Florida, Guyana and The Bahamas before earning his master’s degree in marine biology from Oregon University’s School of Marine Science & Law Program (SOMLP). Prior to joining SCCF he held roles such as Coastal Policy Analyst Fellow at UF’s Center for Coastal Solutions where he researched climate change litigation among other things.

Overall this event promises to be insightful for anyone interested in learning more about water quality impacts on their local economy; whether you are a member or just curious attendee you won’t want to miss it!

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