Q: Now is the time of year when Minnesota residents can contribute to the DNR's Nongame Wildlife Checkoff Fund. What is this money used for and how does it help wildlife?
A: Donations made to this fund are used by the DNR's Nongame Wildlife program for a number of statewide efforts to help protect and manage the state's "nongame" wildlife species. Nongame wildlife species includes more than 700 kinds of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, butterflies and selected invertebrates that are not traditionally hunted or harvested. This also includes conservation efforts for threatened and endangered species.
Specifically, the species that have benefited from these efforts are bald eagles, trumpeter swans, peregrine falcons, eastern bluebirds, Blanding's turtles, bats, timber rattlesnakes, great blue herons and other colonial water birds like egrets and grebes. The money also helps with land acquisition and easements to protect habitat, manage prairies, forests and wetlands, create buffer zones along lakeshores, assist private landowners and local governments with habitat management, and fund educational programs.
Contributions to the Nongame Wildlife Checkoff Fund can be made on the 2012 Minnesota tax form, or online at www.mndnr.gov/eco/nongame/checkoff.html. These donations are extremely important as a foundation for management of nongame wildlife because the donations are also matched with funds from conservation license plates and from federal state wildlife grants for nongame wildlife.
- Carrol Henderson, DNR nongame wildlife program supervisor