A new national study shows that owning a home near a national wildlife refuge increases home value and helps support the surrounding community’s tax base. The study was conducted in urban areas across three regions of the country.

According to the study, conducted for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by economic researchers at North Carolina State University, homes located within half a mile of a refuge and within eight miles of an urban center were found to have higher home values of roughly 7 to 9 percent in the Southeast, 4 to 5 percent in the Northeast and 3 to 6 percent in the California/Nevada region.

The researchers suggested that refuges boost property values in the selected regions because they protect against future development while preserving scenic vistas and other “natural amenity benefits associated with open spaces.” The report is the first national study to analyze national wildlife refuges’ impact on land values.

The study considered 14 refuges in the Southeast, 11 in the Northeast and 11 in California/Nevada. Researchers did not include data from the Midwest, Southwest, Central Mountains and Northwest, where refuges tend to be located further from urban centers.

“Our wildlife refuges are strong economic engines that generate and support jobs in communities across the country,” said Refuge System Chief Jim Kurth. “When President Obama signed an Executive Order earlier this year to promote travel and tourism in the United States he was affirming that investing in our refuges and promoting them to visitors—from here and around the world—can contribute to both an improved National Wildlife Refuge System and economic growth for local communities.”

The report’s conclusions have already been valuable to one Friends group. Debbie Beer with Friends of Heinz Refuge in Philadelphia shared the survey results with partners involved in protecting a parcel of land adjacent to the refuge from development Beers said, “We used the survey to reinforce the point that green space makes strong, economic sense.”

The full report is available online at http://go.usa.gov/wrQ.