The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting an informative discussion titled “The Impact of Water Quality on the Economy” and invites the public and League members to attend. The event will be held on Saturday, April 6th from 9 am to 11 am at The Collaboratori in Fort Myers. The program will begin at 9:30 a.m., and participants can choose to participate in person or via Zoom. Registration can be done on Eventbrite, by email at, or by calling 239-278-1032.

At the event, Matt DePaolis, director of environmental policy at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, will present findings on the economic impact of a recent study, “Water Quality Impacts on the Southwest Florida Economy.” The study, commissioned by Captains for Clean Water, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, provides recommendations for policy advocacy and community engagement.

The study highlights the devastating economic consequences of harmful algal blooms, with estimated losses in Lee County totaling $195 million in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures. In addition, potential job losses are estimated to reach 24,808 in one year, with $3 billion in lost production. Property values are projected to decrease by $3.8 billion, resulting in $21.4 million in lost property tax revenue. The value of lost non-market recreation is estimated at $5.3 billion.

As Director of Policy at SCCF, DePaolis uses his environmental and biological expertise to translate cutting-edge science into effective policy through advocacy

By Samantha Johnson

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