Iowans who are preparing their 2013 taxes are being reminded their donations are critical to boosting wildlife conservation in the state. Stephanie Shepherd, with the Department of Natural Resources, says Iowans can contribute to the Fish and Wildlife fund through the checkoff that’s been on the Iowa tax form since the early 1980s. “We’re the program that’s responsible for the thousand-plus nongame species out there, so everything from butterflies to bald eagles,” Shepherd says.
Last year, more than 8,000 Iowa taxpayers made donations to the Fish and Wildlife Fund. It marked the third year in a row donations to the fund increased, following a decade-long decline. “I think there is a lot of potential to continue that trend upward because when you look at all the check-offs and how many taxpayers donate to those, it’s less than two-percent of folks,” Shepherd says. “So, even if a few more people started donating five or 10 dollars to the checkoff, it would make a really huge difference.”
All of the money collected from the checkoff is directly to Iowa’s wildlife conservation efforts. “There are no administrative fees, so every single dollar is guaranteed to go toward wildlife diversity and nongame wildlife in the State of Iowa,” Shepherd says. Almost $133,000 was directed to the Fish and Wildlife Fund last spring. At its height, Iowans donated more than $200,000 annually to the fund.