The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 requires all units of the National Wildlife Refuge System to be managed under a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP). The CCP must describe the desired future conditions of a Refuge and provide long range guidance and management direction to achieve Refuge purposes. Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located along the James River in east central North Dakota, is in the process of developing a range of management goals, objectives, and strategies for the CCP. The CCP for Arrowwood NWR must contain an analysis of expected effects associated with current and proposed Refuge management strategies.
Special interest groups and local residents often criticize a change in Refuge management, especially if there is a perceived negative impact to the local economy. Having objective data on income and employment impacts may show that these economic fears are overstated. Quite often, residents do not realize the extent of economic benefits a Refuge provides to a local community, yet at the same time overestimate the impact of negative changes. Spending associated with Refuge recreational activities such as wildlife viewing and hunting can generate considerable tourism activity for the regional economy. Additionally, Refuge personnel typically spend considerable amounts of money purchasing supplies in the local lumber and hardware stores, repairing equipment and purchasing fuel at the local service stations, as well as reside and spend their salaries in the local community.
The purpose of this study was to provide the economic analysis needed for the Arrowwood NWR CCP by evaluating the regional economic impacts associated with the Arrowwood NWR Draft CCP management strategies. For Refuge CCP planning, an economic impact analysis describes how current (No Action Alternative) and proposed management activities (alternatives) affect the local economy. This type of analysis provides two critical pieces of information: 1) it illustrates a refuge's contribution to the local community; and 2) it can help in determining whether local economic effects are or are not a real concern in choosing among management alternatives. Refuge personnel provided the information needed to analyze the economic impacts of the three alternatives evaluated in the draft CCP.
This report first provides a description of the local community and economy near the Refuge. An analysis of current and proposed management strategies that could affect the local economy is then presented. The Refuge management activities of economic concern in this analysis are Refuge personnel staffing and Refuge spending within the local community, and spending in the local community by Refuge visitors.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Regional Economic Effects of Current and Proposed Management Alternatives for Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge