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Clean Tampa Bay worth $22 billion to bay area, study says

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By Craig Pittman

One in every five jobs in the Tampa Bay watershed depends on keeping the bay itself healthy, according to a new study unveiled Tuesday.

A clean bay also contributes about $22 billion to the bay area's total economic activity over the larger, six-county region, according to the study conducted by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

The survey — the first look at the bay's economic impact since 1999 — looked at employment, real estate, food services and lodging in an area that includes all or parts of counties from Hernando to Sarasota. The two agencies also sent a detailed survey to 76 professionals working in industries affiliated with the bay.

The results show "that a healthy economy and a healthy environment are mutually beneficial and not mutually exclusive," estuary program executive director Holly Greening said.

Continued in the Tampa Bay Times...