Unpacking the Economic Impacts of Water Quality: A Discussion with Matt DePaolis”.

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

The League of Women Voters of Lee County is inviting both the public and members to attend an informative discussion titled “The Impacts of Water Quality on the Economy”. The event 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 the 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. DePaolis will also provide recommendations for policy advocacy and community engagement based on the study’s findings.

One of the key findings from the study is that Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) have devastating economic consequences in Lee County alone, estimated to result in $195 million in losses in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures within one year if another HAB occurs. 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 due to HABs pollution impacting water quality negatively affecting real estate values​[1](https://www).

As Policy Director at SCCF, DePaolis leverages his expertise in environmental biology and marine law to advocate for effective policies based on SCCF’s scientific research [2](https://www)[3](https://www)[4](https://www). His background includes work as a field biologist in Florida, Bahamas and Guyana; earning a master’s degree in marine biology; as well as holding JD with focus on ocean and coastal law from University of Oregon [5](https://www). Prior to joining SCCF DePaolis held roles such as Coastal Policy Analyst Fellow at University of Florida’s Center for Coastal Solutions where he researched climate litigation fisheries policy issues; Marine pollution solutions

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