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Maryland wildlife is in danger.
Your tax donation can help!

Conservation of Maryland’s biodiversity is vital to sustaining our natural communities. A simple tax donation on line 35 of your MD state tax form can help save Maryland’s endangered and threatened species in immediate need of protection.

Donations to the tax check off program are split evenly between the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Wildlife and Heritage Service to sustain extensive local conservation and restoration projects statewide.

Learn more about Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus)

  • They require large open areas of over 100 acres of undisturbed grassland or wetland habitat where prey is abundant to nest successfully and for wintering
  • Short-Eared Owls are now only seen in Maryland during fall migration and occasionally in larger marshes of the Lower Eastern Shore, though historic records show they once bred in Maryland
  • The North American population has declined by 65% since 1970
  • Habitat loss due to development, changes in farming practices, and loss of wetland habitat have led to further recent declines
  • Fluctuations in the abundance of small mammal prey has significant effects on local short-eared owl population

Learn more about Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas)

  • For every sea turtle that hatches, only one out of 100 will survive to adulthood. We can improve the chance of survival for sea turtles by keeping our beaches clean and trash out of our waterways.
  • When protected, sea turtles can live for over 70 years. Females are able to lay eggs when they are 27–30 years old. They undertake reproductive migrations and return to nest on the beach where they hatched decades earlier, laying eggs every 2-5 years.
  • In Maryland, Green Sea Turtles can occur in both Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay waters. A Green Sea Turtle was found in 1934 near Cove Point in Calvert County that weighed nearly 175 lbs.
  • Of the five sea turtle species known to occur within Maryland’s bays or in the Atlantic Ocean off Maryland, the Green Sea Turtle is one of the rarest. Like the other sea turtle species, the Green Sea Turtle has had substantial population declines throughout its range.

Learn more about Great Egrets (Ardea alba)

  • Great egrets nest and breed in colonies, called rookeries, with other egrets, herons and ibises. One of the bay’s largest breeding colonies is in Canoe Neck Creek in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.
  • They depend on clean water for food. Aside from fish, they also eat crustaceans, frogs, salamanders, snakes, and aquatic insects.
  • Can grow more than three feet tall with a 55-inch wingspan
  • Populations were decimated by plume hunters in late 1800s.
  • The great egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society, founded to protect birds for being killed for their feathers.

Learn about Appalachian Cottontails (Sylvilagus obscurus)

  • Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia listed the Appalachian Cottontail as a ‘Species of Greatest Conservation Need’ as of 2015
  • Appalachian cottontails have acute senses of smell, hearing, and sight
  • Their diet consists of leaves, blackberry, greenbriar, mountain laurel; bark and twigs of trees such as red maple, aspen, and black cherry. They also consume fruits in their diet and act as seed dispersers
  • The main threats to Appalachian cottontails are habitat destruction and fragmentation due to development; the lack of cover exposes the cottontail to predators, increasing the strain on the species
  • Currently, this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing

Contribute at Tax Time

The Chesapeake Bay Trust relies on the generosity of residents all across Maryland to ensure we can continue our efforts to keep the Bay and our local waterways clean. From the mountains to the coast, every Marylander is affected by air and water quality.

No matter how you file your Maryland State Tax Return, it’s easy to make a 100% deductible donation to support the Chesapeake and protect Maryland’s endangered species. The proceeds from the tax donation program are split evenly between the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Wildlife and Heritage Division of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Any voluntary contribution amount to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund will make a difference:

  • $20 can fund a life-changing outdoor experience for 2 students
  • $40 can plant 4 native trees to improve air and water quality
  • $75 can buy 150 wetland plants that protect precious habitat and prevent erosion
  • $100 can remove 500 pounds of trash from local streams and rivers

Help protect the Bay and at-risk species through the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund. Donations go to the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a 501C3 Non-profit, and the Wildlife and Heritage Service to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers and streams, and to protect at-risk species. The Trust has been given a 4-star charity rating, the highest rating, by Charity Navigator, the leader in the nation’s leading independent evaluator of non-profit organizations. As a result, you can rest assured that your donation is going toward exactly what you want to support: improving the Chesapeake Bay, endangered species, and our local communities and cannot be diverted anywhere else.

Funds raised from the tax check off program are split evenly between the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources: 50% goes to the Wildlife and Heritage Service at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. To learn more, visit their website.

Chesapeake Endangered Species Fund

519 Maryland Species are
Endangered, Rare, or Threatened

The following list comprises 519 native Maryland animals that are among the least understood, the rarest, and the most in need of conservation efforts. It includes species occurring in Maryland that are on the federal list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), species currently on the State’s Threatened and Endangered Species list, and additional species that are considered rare or under assessment by the Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Compiled by Wildlife and Heritage Service staff and conservation partners, this list of rare species is a result of more than 40 years of effort to gather, research, and analyze data from numerous sources, such as museums, scientific literature, unpublished documents, reports from zoologists and amateur naturalists, and extensive field work conducted by scientists from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Learn more about how your tax donation
can clean up the Chesapeake region

CPAs for a
Healthy Bay

If you are an Certified Public Accountant, you can sign up for our CPAs for a Healthy Bay Program to receive free marketing from the Trust in exchange for telling your clients about our tax donation program.

For sources and additional information:

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