Oregon's rich and varied landscape supports an amazing diversity of wildlife. Our state is home to about 600 vertebrate species of nongame wildlife―animals that are not fished, trapped or hunted. In fact, 88 % of our wildlife are nongame species including freshwater fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
ODFW's Conservation Program is chartered with serving this large nongame population through management and conservation programs. The program also seeks to inform, to educate and to enhance recreational opportunities involving wildlife.
Conserving the diversity of wildlife species and their habitats is not only critical to the continued health of lands and waters within and beyond the state's borders, it also enriches the lives of Oregonians who enjoy wildlife in their backyards or in travels around the state. In addition, many tourists come to Oregon to enjoy its fish and wildlife resources and contribute significantly to the state's economy.
Nongame Wildlife Programs Need Funding
Although the Wildlife Division is charged with the conservation of nongame species, there is not a stable state funding source for this responsibility. In fact, although nongame species account for 88% of total wildlife, nongame programs receive only a small fraction of the Wildlife Division's budget.
To address this problem, the Oregon Legislature established the Nongame Wildlife Fund in1979, allowing Oregonians to make tax-deductible contributions on their state income tax returns. Citizens also can donate directly to the program by sending a check to the ODFW Nongame Wildlife Fund.
In addition to helping re-establish nesting bald eagles in Oregon and returning the American peregrine falcon from the brink of extinction, the Nongame Wildlife Fund has been used for critical habitat restorations, inventories, conservation programs for sensitive species and educational materials. Recent efforts have helped ensure that, Willamette Valley grassland birds and white-headed woodpeckers will retain their vital places in Oregon's rich and diverse ecosystem.
These and Oregon's other projects are dependent on tax checkoff program donations. You can help to prevent our sensitive nongame species from becoming threatened or endangered, reducing the need for possible regulation. Oregon's nongame species include about 37 threatened and endangered species and 121 sensitive species. Conserving those species and their habitats now will be less expensive in the long run and benefit all Oregonians.
So, please, check the box on your state income tax form to support the Nongame Wildlife Fund. If you are not receiving a refund, you can still support this fund with a donation to the Fund by mail.
Oregon's wildlife need you. Thank you for your consideration.