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Endangered Resources donations via tax form keep rare species from disappearing

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    Wood Turtles

    Wood turtles are among hundreds of rare or at risk native species still present in Wisconsin thanks in large part to donors' contributions to the Endangered Resources Fund on their state income tax forms.

    Such donations support work by DNR conservation biologists to conserve wood turtles, a state threatened species. Biologists protect and relocate nests vulnerable to predators, work with partners to address deadly road crossings, and conduct research to help finetune conservation strategies [exit DNR].Photo credit: Ryan Brady
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    Donations to the Endangered Resources Fund through Wisconsin tax forms pay for work by DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation staff who are responsible for Wisconsin's native nongame species, including hundreds of rare wildlife and plant species and State Natural Areas. Donations to the Endangered Resources Fund pay for efforts to locate rare species, to protect and restore their habitats, assist landowners in helping them and avoid harm to them during various activities.Graphic by Matt Wykle and Terrell Hyde
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    Unique Species

    Wisconsin continues to provide important habitat for several species that are unique, or are absent or declining in other parts of the country. Fassett's locoweed is known to exist only in Wisconsin, and DNR and UW-Whitewater are now teaming up to help increase numbers of this rare plant by growing it in the lab and transferring it to a site where the plant disappeared 15 years ago.Photo by Josh Mayer
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    Our state is a stronghold for the rusty-patched bumblebee, the first bumble bee listed as a federally endangered species in the lower 48 states. Thanks in part to donations to the Endangered Resources Fund, Natural Heritage Conservation biologists are working to restore habitat for rare bees and butterflies on public lands, providing technical assistance and funding to help restore habitat on private lands in the Driftless area, and are training citizen scientists to help locate populations of this important pollinator.Photo by Jay Watson
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    Kirtland's warbler

    The state's small but growing population of Kirtland's warbler is important since Wisconsin is one of only two states where this bird occurs. Work by Natural Heritage Conservation biologists and partners to restore habitat, protect nests, and monitor populations is paying off as the number of breeding birds and their geographic area expands and knowledge of the species, its habits and habitat grows.Photo by Joel Trick
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    Wisconsin is in the core of monarch breeding grounds and so plays an important role in assuring the survival of monarch butterflies; the eastern migratory population has dropped more than 80 percent in the past 20 years. Partners in the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative, which DNR is part of and provides staffing for, have committed to adding nearly 120 million stems of milkweed in a mix of wildflowers by 2038 to help restore habitat and populations.Photo by Jay Watson
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    Trumpeter Swan

    While helping prevent the disappearance of hundreds of rare or at-risk species, tax return contributions to the Endangered Resources Fund also have helped restore trumpeter swans, bald eagles, and other species to Wisconsin. DNR celebrates the 30th anniversary this year of the start of efforts with partners to collect trumpeter swan eggs from Alaska, hatch them in Wisconsin, and release the young birds to wetlands. Trumpeter swan populations took off and the bird was removed from the endangered species list in 2009. There are now more than 5,000 in Wisconsin. Photo by Brian Collins
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    State Natural Areas

    Wisconsin is home to the oldest and largest system of State Natural Areas in the nation; these protect unique natural features and are home to many rare species. Natural Heritage Conservation staff have restored many thousands of acres of prairies, savannas, and oak forests, as well as fens, meadows and numerous other habitats that support diverse wildlife such as hundreds of rare species along with numerous waterfowl and abundant game species.Photo credit: Photo by Anna Rzchowski
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    American Marten

    Donations to the Endangered Resources Fund via the tax check off and other mechanisms are helping fund new research to help keep the American marten, the only mammal on the state endangered species list, from disappearing from Wisconsin. Photo by Skyler Vold
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    How to Help

    In 2017, 12,903 people contributed $281,718 to the Endangered Resources Fund through their Wisconsin tax form. Their donations were matched by the state, providing $562,436 that allowed Natural Heritage Conservation staff and partners to do more to help assure that future generations can enjoy and experience Wisconsin's natural heritage too. If you didn’t make a donation on your 2018 tax form but want to help out this year, we invite you to volunteer, donate directly online or by mail, or purchase a license plate.Graphic by Jane Simkins
Last Revised: Tuesday April 2 2019