Hunters and anglers fund management of game animals and game fish — work that often carries over to benefit non-game species such as swans and songbirds.
But money to manage non-game species is always at a premium, and each year the Department of Natural Resources reminds taxpayers of their opportunity to help wood turtles, ospreys, piping plovers and other species by making a voluntary donation on their tax forms.
DNR nongame wildlife program supervisor Carrol Henderson says the program is facing financial challenges.
“The tough economy has affected our budget, and donations are down by more than 10 percent,” Henderson said. “It is critical to the survival of the Nongame Program that donations maintain or increase.
“Every year, the number of people donating to the checkoff decreases, with fewer than one person in 35 households remembering wildlife at tax time. While we appreciate those who currently donate to our program, we need help from more Minnesotans.”
Donations are voluntary and tax deductible and pay for more than 80 conservation projects, including monitoring of loon populations, wood turtles, ospreys, timber rattlesnakes and dragonflies. Also paid for are frog and toad research, habitat restoration and protection, monitoring of heron rookeries, and management of habitat for bald eagles, piping plovers, peregrine falcons and other wildlife.
The opportunity for taxpayers to donate to nongame wildlife first appeared on state tax forms in 1981.
Taxpayers can contribute through the Nongame Wildlife Checkoff fund on their tax forms, or donate online at: www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/nongame/checkoff.html.