The Economic Impacts of Water Quality: A Study by Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Reveals the High Costs of Harmful Algae Blooms in Southwest Florida

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

The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting an event titled “The Impacts of Water Quality on the Economy” and welcomes both the public and League members to join. The event will take place on Saturday, April 6 from 9 to 11 a.m. at The Collaboratory 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, interested individuals can visit Eventbrite, send an email to, or call 239-278-1032.

During the event, Matt DePaolis, the environmental policy director at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), will present the results of a recent study on the economic impacts of water quality in Southwest Florida. The study was conducted by Greene Economics and commissioned by Captains for Clean Water, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and SCCF.

The study revealed that Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) have significant economic losses in Lee County alone, amounting to $195 million in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures. Additionally, an estimated 24,808 jobs could be lost in a year with an estimated loss in output of $3 billion. Property values could see a decrease of $3.8 billion, resulting in a loss of $21.4 million in property tax revenue. The study also estimated that non-market recreation (quality of life) lost was valued at $5.3 billion.

DePaolis has expertise in environmental and marine biology and uses his knowledge to advocate for policies based on scientific research as Policy Director at SCCF. He has worked on various environmental policy issues with organizations such as the United Nations and the Wild Salmon Center before his current position

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