|ODNR seeking donations through Ohio income tax checkoff program|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune|
|Tuesday, 04 March 2014 09:23|
When filling out their taxes this year, Ohioans can make a difference in preserving the state's wealth of natural resources for generations to come by making a donation through Ohio's Income Tax Checkoff Program.
Old-growth woods, bogs and fens, endangered species, prairies and other remnants of Ohio's natural history are all protected by a system of 136 state nature preserves. Ohioans who donate to the Natural Areas State Income Tax Checkoff Program help support this system.
Checkoff donations have enabled the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Natural Areas and Preserves to construct trails and boardwalks, improve parking and signage and allow for greater public access to a treasure trove of nature's wonders available in Ohio. Additionally, donations support critical ecological management activities, including efforts to remove non-native and invasive species that pose a serious and ever-growing threat to sensitive habitats.
Last year, staff intensified efforts to treat and control non-native invasive species impacting northwestern state nature preserves, including Irwin Prairie, Goll Woods, Sheldon's Marsh and Lakeside Daisy. A combination of staff labor, supplies and equipment supported by checkoff donations and volunteer labor resulted in nearly 200 acres in northwestern Ohio being treated to stop the spread of 16 non-natives, such as glossy buckthorn, reed canary grass, Phragmites, bush honeysuckle, garlic mustard, autumn olive and purple loosestrife.
In addition to eco-management activities, donations support new facility improvements. At Goll Woods, located in Fulton County, gravel was added to improve a half-mile dirt trail. Visitor safety was improved by reducing the slippery, muddy conditions as well as covering tripping hazards, such as exposed roots, along the wooded trail.
In the Oak Openings region, one of Ohio's most visited areas for hiking and nature appreciation, a trail system and parking lot were developed at Lou Campbell State Nature Preserve in Lucas County. Formerly only open by permit, the preserve is now open to visitors every day because of donations made to the Natural Areas Fund.
Ohioans can join ODNR in protecting our state nature preserves. Please consider designating all or a portion of your Ohio Income Tax refund to the Natural Areas Fund. Learn more by visiting ohiodnr.gov.
Taxpayers who are not receiving a refund this year may still contribute by sending a check to ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, Natural Areas Fund, 2045 Morse Road, Building C-3, Columbus, Ohio 43229.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
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