According to a study conducted by Texas A & M University, nature tourists inject up to $300 million dollars into the local economy of the lower Rio Grande Valley and the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is one of main reasons wildlife watchers travel to this region. In addition to providing habitat for an amazing array of species, the refuge works closely with local Chambers of Commerce and non-profit organizations to support and host nature festivals, including the Ocelot Conservation Festival which is hosted by the Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as several birding festivals.Home ValuesA national study conducted in 2012 shows that owning a home near a national wildlife refuge increases home values and helps support the surrounding community’s tax base. According to the study, homes located within half a mile of a refuge and within eight miles of an urban center were found to have higher home values. This report is the first national study to analyze national wildlife refuges’ impact on land values.
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The ocelot is a small wild cat that is a management priority for the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Restoring and protecting habitat benefits this and many other species found in this biologically rich region.