DEP ENCOURAGES RESIDENTS TO SUPPORT ENDANGERED SPECIES
CONSERVATION THROUGH STATE INCOME TAX CHECK-OFF PROGRAM
(12/P13) TRENTON - New Jersey’s populations of eagles, ospreys and falcons continue to soar, a testament to work by the DEP’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program that has been funded largely by those who opt to return their state income tax refunds to wildlife protection.
The Endangered Wildlife Fund check-off is located on Line 58 of Form NJ-1040. Taxpayers are provided with the option of contributing $10, $20, or an amount of his or her choosing, toward protection of threatened and endangered species, which include the bald eagle, osprey and peregrine falcon.
“I encourage interested state residents to use their state income tax check-off to help protect our threatened and endangered wildlife,” said Amy Cradic, Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources. “Even if you are not expecting a refund, you may elect to make a contribution to the Endangered Wildlife Fund. This fund has made a tremendous difference over the years and needs your continued support. The work of protecting our endangered species never ends.”
“Every dollar donated is matched by three dollars in federal funds for the protection and management of New Jersey’s endangered and rare wildlife species,” added Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Chanda.
The recovery of all three bird-of-prey species is directly related to the ban on the use of DDT, a once widely-used pesticide that caused egg failure, coupled with decades of restoration, management and monitoring efforts by the DEP’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program.
The recently completed Mid-winter bald eagle survey conducted by the Endangered and Nongame Species Program in cooperation with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey recorded the second highest number of bald eagles ever. More than 70 volunteers observed 317 bald eagles -- just 11 shy of the record of 328 in 2010.
In addition, a 2011 nest survey indicated more than 100 pairs of bald eagles are nesting in New Jersey, a record since the early 1980s, when the species was on the brink of extirpation in the state with just one pair nesting in an isolated swamp in Cumberland County.
New Jersey has participated in the nationwide Mid-winter Eagle Count to assess the number of eagles wintering in the lower 48 states. The survey focuses on known eagle wintering areas throughout the Garden State.
In North Jersey this includes the upper Delaware River from the Water Gap to Port Jervis, and most of the major reservoirs such as Round Valley, Merrill Creek, Boonton and Wanaque. In the south, the survey focuses on the major river systems flowing into the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay.
Volunteers reported 24 adults and 20 immature bald eagles for the Delaware River and reservoirs and impoundments in North Jersey. In South Jersey, a total of 163 adult and 110 immature bald eagles were tallied.
Last year was also a record-breaking year for ospreys, another once-rare raptor. The Endangered and Nongame Species Program recorded an average of 2.07 young per active nest, a new record. Based on the last statewide census results from 2009, this nest success rate would place the statewide population at more than 500 pairs.
A third bird of prey, the peregrine falcon, is also staging a steady comeback. In 2011, the population remained steady at 24 pairs, with nesting pairs found along the Atlantic Coast, Delaware Bay, and the Delaware River.
Peregrine falcons, known as the fastest birds in the world, only recently re-colonized their natural and historic nesting habitat along the Hudson River’s Palisades Cliffs. In other areas of the state, they nest on manmade towers, bridges over the Delaware and Hudson rivers, and on several tall buildings in Jersey City, Atlantic City and Elizabeth.
In addition to the New Jersey Endangered Wildlife Fund, taxpayers may choose to designate contributions to 14 other programs. Details are included in the Form 1040 instructions. Contributions to any of these check-off funds will reduce your refund commensurately.
Additional information about the restoration of New Jersey’s bald eagles, ospreys and peregrine falcons, is available at http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/ensp/raptor_info.htm.
For more on the Endangered and Nongame Species Program, including facts on species that the program works to protect, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensphome.htm