June 15, 2024

Water Quality and its Economic Impacts: A Discussion Hosted by The League of Women Voters in Lee County

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

The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting a unique event titled “The Impacts of Water Quality on the Economy”. The event is open to both 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 commence 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 the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), will present 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. DePaolis will 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) 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. 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. This study highlights non-market recreation value (quality of life), which is estimated to be $5.3 billion.

As Policy Director at SCCF, DePaolis leverages his expertise in environmental and marine biology to advocate for effective policies based on SCCF’s scientific research. His background includes work as a field biologist in Florida, Bahamas, Guyana as well as earning master’s degree in marine biology and JD with focus on ocean coastal law from University 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 marine pollution solutions.

This event provides an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in learning about water quality impacts on the economy to come together with others who share similar concerns about protecting our environment for future generations.

In conclusion, water quality has significant impacts on the economy; therefore it’s essential that we take action to protect it now before it’s too late

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