‘Analyzing the Economic Effects of Water Quality’ forum on April 6 | News, Sports, Jobs

The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting a discussion on the economic impact of water quality. The event, titled “The Impacts of Water Quality on the Economy,” will be held on Saturday, April 6 from 9 to 11 a.m. at The Collaboratory in Fort Myers. It will start at 9:30 a.m., and attendees can choose to participate in person or via Zoom. Registration can be completed through Eventbrite, email at lwvlee@lwvlee.org, or by calling 239-278-1032.

At the event, Matt DePaolis, the environmental policy director at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, will present the findings of a recent study commissioned by Captains for Clean Water, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. The study provides recommendations for policy advocacy and community engagement related to Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) and their devastating economic consequences in Lee County.

The study highlights that HABs have cost Lee County an estimated $195 million in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures. In addition to this loss, potential job losses are estimated to reach 24,808 in one year with a loss in output of $3 billion. Property values are projected to decrease by $3.8 billion, leading to $21.4 million in lost property tax revenue. Furthermore, the value of non-market recreation lost is estimated at $5.3 billion due to HABs’ impact on tourism and other recreational activities.

As an expert in environmental science and marine biology with experience in field work throughout Florida and beyond, DePaolis uses his expertise to translate cutting-edge scientific research into effective policy through advocacy efforts at SCCF. His background includes working as a researcher on climate litigation and evaluating regulations aimed at protecting water quality before joining SCCF as Policy Director earlier this year

By Samantha Johnson

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