Regional economic impacts of current and proposed management alternatives for Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge
Product Type:Open-file Report
Author(s):Koontz, L., N. Sexton, A. Ishizaki, and J. Ritten
Suggested Citation:Koontz, L., N. Sexton, A. Ishizaki, and J. Ritten. 2013. Regional economic impacts of current and proposed management alternatives for Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Open-File Report 2012-1014. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey. 43 p.
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. Charles M. Russell (CMR) National Wildlife Refuge, located in north-central Montana, is in the process of developing a range of management goals, objectives, and strategies for the CCP. The CCP for the Refuge must contain an analysis of expected effects associated with current and proposed refuge-management strategies.
For refuge CCP planning, an economic analysis provides a means of estimating how current management (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 economic effects are or are not a real concern in choosing among management alternatives.
It is important to note that the economic value of a refuge encompasses more than just the impacts on the regional economy. Refuges also provide substantial nonmarket values (values for items not exchanged in established markets) such as maintaining endangered species, preserving wetlands, educating future generations, and adding stability to the ecosystem (Carver and Caudill, 2007). However, quantifying these types of nonmarket values is beyond the scope of this study.
This report first presents a description of the local community and economy near the Refuge. Next, the methods used to conduct a regional economic impact analysis are described. An analysis of the final CCP management strategies that could affect stakeholders and residents and the local economy is then presented. The refuge management activities of economic concern in this analysis are:
- Refuge purchases of goods and services within the local community;
- Refuge personnel salary spending;
- Grazing operations;
- Spending in the local community by refuge visitors; and
- Revenues generated from Refuge Revenue Sharing.