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The League of Women Voters of Lee County is hosting an event titled “The Impacts of Water Quality on the Economy” that is open to the public and League members. 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 start at 9:30 a.m., and attendees can choose to attend in person or via Zoom. To register for the event, individuals can visit Eventbrite, email lwvlee@lwvlee.org, or call 239-278-1032.

Matt DePaolis, the environmental policy director at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, 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 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 Algae Blooms (HABs) in Lee County. Estimated losses from another HAB include $195 million in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures, potentially leading to the loss of 24,808 jobs and $3 billion in output. Property values are estimated to drop by $3.8 billion, resulting in a loss of $21.4 in property tax revenue. Additionally, the study estimated a loss of $5.3 billion in non-market recreation value (quality of life).

As an expert in environmental policy with backgrounds in field biology, marine biology, ocean and coastal law, Matt DePaolis advocates for policy changes based on SCCF’s scientific research to address these challenges facing our region’s economy and environment alike

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