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Marco Missing out on Water Quality Wealth Effect!

Marco Island property owners are missing out on a significant jump in their property values that is now suppressed by the polluted waters around the island. A study by the Florida Realtors Association showed how property values in Lee County and Martin County increased with clear water next to their waterfront homes. The report is titled “The Impact of Water Quality on Florida’s Home Values, March 2015.”

There has long been a belief in a connection between home values and the quality and clarity of Florida waterways. The impact that a one-foot improvement in water clarity on the Caloosahatchee Estuary waterfront had on property values there was an astounding 14.66%. The “one-foot effect” in Martin County was 10.32% for waterfront properties. Marco properties are almost all waterfront.

Water clarity is measured by Secchi Depth (SD). For this measurement, an 8-inch-wide disc, called a Secchi Disc, is slowly lowered into the water until it is no longer visible to the naked eye, at which point the depth of the disc is measured. The SD on Marco is measured in 14 locations across the island each month.

The water clarity on Marco has recently taken a turn for the worse. In the summer of 2021, the average SD on Marco was 3 meters or around 10 feet of visibility in the water; so far, in 2022, the SD has been averaging just 1 meter, or 3 feet. The visibility of the water on Marco has dropped by SEVEN FEET in the last year!

What would a one-foot increase in water clarity mean for Marco? According to the Collier County Property Appraiser, the taxable value of all the Marco Island real estate is $12 billion. Using the Florida Realtors Association range of 10% to 15% for the impact, the wealth effect on Marco would be staggering! Marco property values are suppressed by between $1.2 to $1.8 Billion. What is 15% of the value of your home?

What would it take to clean up the Marco waterbody? Go to page 197 of the Marco Island Annual Budget for Fiscal Year 2022. See “Project 8 – Reuse Nutrient Removal Process” with a cost estimate of $2,000,000. If the city moved ahead on this project, this investment would return to the residents of Marco a property value increase of $1.5 Billion! Should the city implement this project? I think so.


Nanette Rivera

Candidate for Marco Island City Council

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