The Economic Toll of Harmful Algae Blooms: Insights from a Study by Captains for Clean Water and SCCF

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

In April, the League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting an event titled “The Impacts of Water Quality on the Economy”. The event is open to both members and the public and will take place on Saturday, April 6 from 9 to 11 a.m., with the program beginning at 9:30 a.m. at The Collaboratory located at 2031 Jackson St. in Fort Myers. Attendees have the option to participate in person or via Zoom.

To register for the event, individuals can visit Eventbrite, email lwvlee@lwvlee.org, or call 239-278-1032. The presentation will be given by Matt DePaolis, who is the environmental policy director at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF). DePaolis will discuss the economic impact findings from a recent study conducted by Greene Economics on behalf of Captains for Clean Water, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and SCCF about the Impacts of Water Quality on Southwest Florida Economy.

The study revealed that Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) have devastating economic consequences in Lee County alone, causing losses totaling $195 million in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures, resulting in an estimated loss of 24,808 potential jobs and $3 billion in lost output. Additionally, property values were estimated to decrease by $3.8 billion resulting in $21.4 million in lost property tax revenue and $5.3 billion in lost non-market recreation value.

Matt DePaolis has a unique background that makes him well suited to translate scientific findings into effective policy advocacy through his expertise in environmental and marine biology as well as his legal knowledge from his master’s degree in marine biology and JD with a focus on ocean and coastal law from Oregon University’s School of Law . Prior to joining SCCF he worked on coastal policy analysis, climate litigation , fisheries policy , marine plastic pollution solutions among other things .

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