The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting an event called “The Impact of Water Quality on the Economy” that is open to the public and League members. The event will be held on Saturday, April 6 from 9 am to 11 am at The Collaboratori premises at 2031 Jackson St. in Fort Myers. The program will begin at 9:30 a.m., and participants can choose to attend in person or via Zoom. To register for the event, individuals can visit Eventbrite, email or call 239-278-1032.

Matt DePaolis, director of environmental policy at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, will present economic impact results from a recent study titled Water Quality Impacts on the Southwest Florida Economy. This study was conducted by Greene Economics and commissioned by Captains for Clean Water, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

The study highlighted the devastating economic consequences of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Lee County. Estimated losses from the second HAB include $195 million in revenue and expenditures from recreational and commercial fisheries, potentially resulting in the loss of 24,808 jobs and $3 billion in production. Property values are estimated to drop by $3.8 billion, resulting in a loss of $21.4 in property tax revenue. In addition, the study estimated a loss of $5.3 billion in nonmarket value for recreation (quality of life).

As Director of Policy at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Matt DePaolis uses his environmental and marine biology expertise to advocate for policy changes based on SCCF’s scientific research. DePaolis has a background in field biology, marine biology, ocean and coastal law before joining SCCF he worked on various research and policy projects related to climate change, fisheries, water quality and marine pollution

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