Economic Devastation and Environmental Impact: How Harmful Algae Blooms are Affecting Southwest Florida’s Economy

Economic Effects of Water Quality to be Debated on April 6 | Local News, Sports, Employment

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. The event will take place on Saturday, April 6 from 9 to 11 a.m. at The Collaboratory on 2031 Jackson St. in Fort Myers. Matt DePaolis, the environmental policy director at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, will be presenting the economic impact findings from a recent study on “Impacts of Water Quality on the Southwest Florida Economy,” along with recommendations for policy advocacy and community engagement.

One of the key points of discussion will be the devastating economic consequences of Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs). In Lee County alone, estimated losses from a single HAB amount to $195 million in recreational and commercial fishing revenues and expenditures. The potential loss of jobs in a year is estimated at 24,808, with an overall loss in output valued at $3 billion. Property values are estimated to decrease by $3.8 billion, resulting in $21.4 million in lost property tax revenue. Additionally, the loss in quality of life due to non-market recreation is valued at $5.3 billion.

DePaolis, as Policy Director, will use his expertise in environmental and marine biology to translate the cutting-edge science from SCCF into effective policy through advocacy

Sophia Reynolds

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