Lynn Chamberlain
Thanks to donations for nongame wildlife, river otters now live in southern Utah.

For those who care about songbirds, river otters and other wildlife that are not hunted or fished for, tax time is one of the best times of the year to help.

People can help by giving a few dollars to the Utah Nongame Wildlife Fund.

To give a donation, go to line 19 of the 2007 Utah State Income Tax form and enter code 01 and the amount to be donated.

Those who have already filed can also donate.

"Most Utahns don't realize it, but hunters and anglers provide almost all of the funding to manage the state's wildlife," said Greg Sheehan, administrative services section chief for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

"Hunters and anglers provide this funding when they buy hunting and fishing licenses and equipment," said Sheehan. "Because sportsmen are paying the cost to manage Utah's wildlife, we use most of the money we receive from them to manage wildlife that people hunt or fish for."

Money from the Nongame Wildlife Fund is used differently.

"Money from the fund is used entirely to help wildlife for which people don't hunt or fish," he added. "For people who care about nongame wildlife, donating to the fund is a convenient and easy way to help."

Those who have already filed can still help. The DWR accepts donations for nongame wildlife throughout the year.

Donations can be sent to Division of Wildlife Resources, P.O. Box 146301, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6301.

Those donating are asked to make a note that the money is for the Nongame Wildlife Fund.

Learn more about the amount of habitat that's available in Utah for Mexican spotted owls. Biologists developed this habitat model using geographic information system technology and results from almost 15 years spent surveying owls in Utah's remote canyons.

Biologists in the DWR's nongame mammals program use Nongame Wildlife Fund money to help endangered and sensitive species. Through their work, river otters now live in southern Utah, a black-footed ferret population is establishing itself in the northeastern part of the state, and important information about pygmy rabbits and prairie dogs is being gathered.

Last year, Utah taxpayers gave more than $37,000 to the Utah Nongame Wildlife Fund.

The DWR's nongame avian program uses the money to survey raptor and songbird populations in Utah. Information obtained through the surveys allows biologists to make decisions that will help ensure birds as common as yellow warblers and American robins, and as rare as peregrine falcons and yellow-billed cuckoos, thrive for years to come.