The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is asking you to check out their checkoff as you’re filling out your state income taxes. D-N-R wildlife diversity coordinator, Doug Harr, says the check-off was started in the 1980’s. He says it was originally called the “Chickadee check-off,” but is actually now called the “Fish and Wildlife check-off” and the money goes to wildlife diversity programs.
Harr says the fish and fowl that’re hunted get a lot of attention, but he says the “non-game” animals are the ones who benefit from the check-off. He says there are probably 80 sportfish and game species in Iowa, but probably 500 non-game species that aren’t hunted. He says the check-off is important income for the program.
Harr say the number of people who take pen in hand and mark the check-off box has fluctuated. Harr says when they first started they had a better response with more taxpayers checking off, but he says today people are making bigger contributions. Harr says overall about one-percent of taxpayers participate, which he says raised around 140-thousand dollars. He says that’s only 43-percent of their budget.
Harr says the money ends up doing a lot of good for the state. He says they’ve used the money for a lot of different things, such as songbird and bald eagle surveys to see how those birds are doing. He says they’ve also used the money to fund the restoration of peregrine falcons, trumpeter swans, prairie chickens and osprey. Harr encourages everyone to consider taking part in the check-off, as he says any donation to the cause is important.