Economic Impacts of Water Quality: The Reality and Implications for Southwest Florida

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

The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting a discussion on the economic impacts of water quality. The event, titled “The Impacts of Water Quality on the Economy,” will take place on Saturday, April 6 from 9 to 11 a.m. at The Collaboratory located at 2031 Jackson St. in Fort Myers. To register for the event, individuals can visit Eventbrite, send an email to or call 239-278-1032.

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

As Policy Director at SCCF, DePaolis utilizes his expertise in environmental and marine biology to advocate for effective policies based on SCCF’s scientific research. He has a background that includes work as a field biologist in Florida, the Bahamas, Guyana as well as earning a master’s degree in marine biology and JD with a focus on oceanic and coastal law from the University of Oregon before joining SCCF he held roles such as Coastal Policy Analyst Fellow at UF’s Center for Coastal Solutions where he researched climate litigation fisheries policy issues and marine pollution solutions among other things..

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