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Associated Press, Published November 07 2013

Report looks at wildlife refuge economic benefits

WINONA, Minn. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is a boon to the regional economy.

The service says the refuge generated over $161 million in economic benefits for a 19-county area in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois in 2011. The benefits from visitor spending tied to recreation on the refuge include retail sales, taxes and job income.

The agency's report, Banking on Nature, also says the Upper Mississippi refuge returned nearly $46 for every $1 appropriated.

The report also says the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern Minnesota generated over $202,000 in economic benefits for Marshall and Pennington counties in 2011.

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