- Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Tax season is here, meaning it’s a great time to help keep Massachusetts wild! One easy way to help endangered animals and plants in the state is by donating on your state tax return. Simply fill in the amount you would like to donate on Line 33A for Endangered Wildlife Conservation. All the monies donated go to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Fund, a fund dedicated specifically to the conservation of rare species. This Fund supports MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, responsible for the hundreds of species that are listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern in Massachusetts.
Despite its status as the nation’s symbol, Bald Eagles were targeted and killed for the better part of a century. This intentional killing, coupled with habitat loss and pollutants like DDT, caused breeding Bald Eagles to disappear from Massachusetts in the early 1900s. Beginning in 1982, MassWildlife and its partners began to relocate young eagles from Michigan and Canada to an area overlooking the Quabbin Reservoir in efforts to reestablish breeding pairs in the state. These relocated eagles were raised by a wildlife management practice known as hacking, in which young birds of prey are raised in an outdoor cage with no direct human contact and later released into the wild. The eaglets came to view the area around the Quabbin as their home turf and when they matured, some of the hacked eagles established breeding territories at the reservoir. In 1989, eight decades after the last historic Bald Eagle nest was observed in Massachusetts (on Snake Pond in Sandwich), three chicks fledged from two Quabbin nests. Fast forward to 2017, when 68 territorial pairs of Bald Eagles were observed in Massachusetts—this is the highest number of territorial pairs since their reintroduction.
While Massachusetts has made considerable progress, 427 plants and animals are still recognized as rare in the state. MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program is the first line of defense for Massachusetts’ most vulnerable plants and animals. Donating to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Fund ensures continuing conservation for these rare species.
Already filed your taxes, but still want to donate? Contributions can be made directly by sending a check made payable to “Commonwealth of MA—NHESP” to MassWildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed thus far!