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Evans Joins Naples Chamber to Discuss Water Quality & the Economy

May 1, 2024
image of three people standing in front of screen

From left: Captain for Cleans Water Co-Founder & Executive Director Daniel Andrews, SCCF CEO James Evans, President & CEO of the Conservancy of SWFL Rob Moher

Why do people come to Florida?

“It’s not because they love our pavement and buildings — it’s for our fisheries, our beaches, our natural resources,” said SCCF CEO James Evans during a May 1 panel exploring the connection between water quality and our local economies, held by the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce.

The event, titled ‘Blue Equals Green: How Water Quality Impacts Your Business’s Bottom Line,’ was centered around a water quality economic study released this year by SCCF, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and Captains for Clean Water. This study showed that Charlotte, Lee, and Collier Counties stand to lose $5.2 billion in economic output should another harmful algal bloom like the one in 2018 occur, as well as 43,000-plus jobs.

A panel discussion with Evans, Co-Founder & Executive Director of Captains for Clean Water Daniel Andrews, and President & CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Rob Moher was moderated by Kristina Park, CEO & President of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce in front of around 90 people at the Hyatt House in Naples.

image of four people indoors
From left: SCCF Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis, Policy Associate Allie Pecenka, Communications & Marketing Manager Denise Blough, CEO James Evans

The group emphasized the water quality crisis we have experienced in Southwest Florida over the past several decades, stressing the need for us to continue positive progress toward Everglades restoration and the importance of informing policymakers about the science that can help them make the best decisions for our ecosystems and our communities.

“We know now, unequivocally, that there is a direct connection between the discharges that come off the landscape, the discharges from Lake Okeechobee, and how red tide is exacerbated,” Evans said.

They discussed the great impact the support of the business community can have for improving water quality and conservation, questioned what smart development could look like amid competing land-use pressures, emphasized advocacy at the local level, and explained what actions can be taken to avoid feeding blue-green algae and red tide.

Want to stay informed about water quality conditions in Southwest Florida? Sign up for SCCF’s Weekly Water Conditions Updates and Caloosahatchee Conditions Reports.


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