TAX CHECKOFF PROGRAMS
HELP PROTECT OHIO'S
NATURAL AREAS AND WILDLIFE
Bald eagles. Trumpeter swans. Peregrine falcons. Karner blue butterflies. Running buffalo clover. Lakeside daisies. All these and more are again flourishing in Ohio thanks to taxpayer contributions to the state's Natural Areas and Endangered Wildlife income tax checkoff programs.
As tax preparation season approaches, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is again urging Ohioans to remember these programs when filing their state income tax returns. Donations help ODNR protect natural areas and scenic rivers, reintroduce endangered wildlife and preserve wetland habitat.
"Ohio taxpayers can make a significant contribution to the state's environment by simply checking two boxes on their state income tax return forms," said ODNR Director Sam Speck. "By returning a portion of their tax refund, Ohioans can help protect endangered plant and wildlife species for future generations."
Since their inception in 1984, the wildlife and natural areas tax checkoff programs have generated more than $20 million for conservation programs in Ohio. Last year, more than 140,431 Ohioans contributed a total of $998,675 to these funds: $556,803 for natural areas and preserves and $441,872 for wildlife habitat and endangered species protection.
Donations to the ODNR Division of Wildlife have returned bald eagles and trumpeter swans to the marshes and inlets of Lake Erie and its tributaries; peregrine falcons to the skylines of major cities; and Karner blue butterflies to the Oak Openings region of Lucas County. Checkoff funds also help purchase critical habitat and fund programs for wildlife research and education.
The ODNR Division of Natural Areas & Preserves uses tax checkoff funds solely for land acquisition, new facility development and special projects undertaken at Ohio's 123 state nature preserves and 20 state scenic river segments. Last year, ODNR acquired critical habitat at Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve in Jackson County, along Big Darby Creek National State and Scenic River in Union and Logan counties, and near Miller Nature Sanctuary in Highland County. Facility development projects include completing a boardwalk at North Pond State Nature Preserve on Kelleys Island and adding a new section of boardwalk at Rockbridge State Nature Preserve in Hocking County.
Ohioans can donate a portion of their state income tax refund by checking the appropriate boxes on the state tax return form (line 16 or 17 on the IT-1040 EZ form, or lines 24 or 25 on the IT-1040 return) for the amount they wish to donate to either or both programs. Those who are not eligible to receive a refund can send a check to either the Division of Natural Areas & Preserves or to the Division of Wildlife, Wildlife Diversity Account, ODNR Fountain Square Complex, Columbus, Ohio 43224.