Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge near Detroit Lakes has a well-deserved article in the most recent editon of "Refuge Update," a magazine published by the national wildlife refuge system. Noted is Tamarac's new Discovery Center, now hub of the refuge's growing environmental education effort. It opened in June, welcoming 3,000 school-age children since then. Friends of Tamarac, a citizen support group, provided $600,000 of the $800,000 cost of the project. This demonstrates the excellent community support the refuge receives.The Friends group was recognized for its funding efforts when it was given the national Friends Group of the Year award.
The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge supports not only wildlife and visitors, but also jobs. The refuge begins in Minnesota, stretching down river to Iowa and Illinois. A recent report showed that the refuge supported 1,394 jobs and produced $226 million in economic benefits. The refuge's current budget is $4.9 million.
Benefits of birding: Texas, along the Rio Grande River, is one of the world's best places to find birds. A wonderful place to visit is Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. There, visitors, most of them birders, generated nearly $30 milliion in benefits for local economies in 2011. This is contained in a 2013 report on local econimic benefits of refuges around the country. The Laguna refuge budget is $800,000. The return on investment for national refuges averaged $4.87 for every $1 appropriated that year. This does not include the benefits to wildlife conservation, land management practices, and habitat restoration that refuge funds finance.