The Economic Impacts of Water Quality on Lee County: Insights from Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis

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

The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting an informative discussion titled “The Impacts of Water Quality on the Economy” and invites both the public and League members to attend. This 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, 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. This 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 this study is that Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) have devastating economic consequences in Lee County alone, which could result in $195 million in losses in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures if another HAB occurs. There is also a potential for 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. Additionally, non-market recreation (or quality of life) is valued at an estimated $5.3 billion .

As a Policy Director at SCCF , DePaolis uses his expertise in environmental science 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 a master’s degree marine biology and JD with focus ocean coastal law from University of Oregon before joining SCCF he held roles such as Coastal Policy Analyst Fellow at University of Florida Center for Coastal Solutions , researched climate litigation fisheries policy issues marine pollution solutions at various organizations .

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