DEEP: Endangered Species/Wildlife Income Tax Check-Off

Endangered Species/Wildlife Income Tax Check-Off

{Income Tax Check-Off Logo} The "Endangered Species/Wildlife Income Tax Check-Off Fund" is a fund that was created in 1993 by the legislature to allow Connecticut state income taxpayers to voluntarily donate portions of their tax refund to support efforts aimed at helping Connecticut's endangered species, natural area preserves and watchable wildlife. Citizens can also contribute directly by sending a check payable to "DEEP-Endangered Species/Wildlife Fund" to:

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Bureau of Financial and Support Services
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127

Since the inception of the Check-off, a number of projects have been funded in the areas of habitat restoration, inventory, monitoring and education. The following projects are some that have been totally or partially funded by the State of Connecticut "Endangered Species/Wildlife Income Tax Check-off Fund":

Endangered Species Wildlife Income Tax Check-off Fund Projects

Mammals:

Bat Hibernacula Protection: This project involves the study and protection of one of Connecticut's largest known bat hibernaculas. The hibernacula when last surveyed was found to contain more than 1,500 wintering bats. There has been concern that trespassers and vandalism at the site pose a risk to the hibernating bats. The project will identify the critical areas being used by bats and improve or replace the current gating system at the site with bat-friendly gates. This will allow bats free access to the old mine shafts used as wintering sites, but keep trespassers out. The project is a cooperative effort of the landowner, the DEEP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bat Conservation International and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Bat Survey: This project involves winter surveys of known winter bat hibernaculas and includes summer mist netting surveys which study the distribution of Connecticut's native bats. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Bat Telemetry - Roost Location Survey: Three tree roosting bat species -- the red, hoary and silverhaired -- are seldom encountered by people and little is known about their population status, their Connecticut distribution, or preferred habitat. This project is designed to identify the specific habitat requirements of these state-listed special concern species so they can be better managed. This project is also partly funded by a federal Partnerships for Wildlife grant. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

New England Cottontails: To conduct a population and habitat study of the New England Cottontail which is Connecticut’s only native rabbit species. Limited past research indicates the abundance of new England cottontails has declined in Connecticut and possibly throughout the region as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation. This project will provide the DEEP with current data on the relative abundance and distribution of New England Cottontails to determine its status under the state endangered species act.

Least Shrew Inventory and Habitat Assessment: A marsh complex in coastal Connecticut is the only documented location of the state-endangered least shrew. To better manage this marsh for the shrew, studies were conducted to document how extensive least shrew habitat is within the marsh and to evaluate such use in relation to potential marsh restoration projects in the future. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Birds:

Grassland Bird Management Plan at Bradley International Airport: Funding to develop a comprehensive management plan for grassland bird habitat at Bradley International Airport. Management recommendations will assist airport officials in planning future facilities and implementing the best practices to conserve important nesting sites. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Least Tern Recovery: The least tern is listed as a threatened species in Connecticut. The proximity of least tern nesting colonies to high human use areas results in increased disturbance to nesting birds, which may significantly affect overall productivity. Project efforts focus on studying reproductive success, habitat management and protection. (Contact person: Laura Saucier, 860-675-8130)

Barn Owl Management: A barn owl nest box project has been initiated to provide this state-threatened species with available nesting sites in suitable habitats. Nest boxes have been installed on public and private lands. Volunteers have been monitoring boxes to assess owl populations. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Heron/Egret Rookery Protection: Offshore islands in Long Island Sound, where several state-listed herons and egrets nest, are subject to various types of disturbance. Monies were used for the protective fencing of island rookeries and the posting of educational signs that detail natural history information and explain current conservation concerns and management strategies for these species. Monies were also used to develop a plan for the management and protection of heron and egret populations in Connecticut. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Ospreys: Osprey productivity at Great Island Wildlife Management Area had declined considerably during the mid-1990s. Research efforts focused on identifying possible limiting factors to nest success. Funds were also used to assess possible contamination of unhatched osprey eggs. Contaminants in the form of heavy metals, pesticides and PCBs, among others, can pose serious threats to wildlife populations. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Study of the Effect of Timber Harvesting on Blue-winged Warblers and Other Shrubland Bird Species: The goal is to determine the habitat requirements of blue-winged warblers and other shrubland bird species and to analyze the importance of the height, density, and composition of the vegetation, and also the size, shape and configuration of clearcuts. This information will be useful for developing forest cutting plans that enhance the habitat for shrubland nesting birds. Connecticut College is a partner on this project. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Wetland Bird Call-Response Survey: Funding helps administer and coordinate a volunteer project to survey the occurrence of several state-listed wetland dependent bird species. DEEP personnel and volunteers use tape recorded bird calls to elicit vocalizations by secretive wetland birds at sites throughout Connecticut. Surveys of current and historic state listed wetland bird habitats have been conducted in Connecticut since 1993. The use of volunteers allows the DEEP to collect data from a much larger area than could be sampled by Wildlife Division staff alone. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Inventory of Worm-eating Warblers: Worm-eating warblers have been identified as a priority species of conservation concern in southern New England. This project was initiated to develop techniques to more thoroughly assess the status of worm-eating warblers in Connecticut and to learn about their habitat requirements in this portion of their range. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Reptiles and Amphibians:

Wood Turtle Study: Wood turtles (Clemmys insculpta) are Species of Special Concern in Connecticut. Wood turtles are in serious decline in developed parts of the state and this study focuses on determining their population status in and around Nachaug State Forest. The project involves evaluating the status of the wood turtle population in this area by using radio tags to monitor movement and location of the turtles during different seasons. Summer field assistance for this project involves students and teachers from EASTCONN and other local schools. (Contact person: Dawn McKay, 860-424-3540)

Amphibian Monitoring Volunteer Project: This project involved providing equipment and training materials for volunteer field assistants in the Connecticut Amphibian Monitoring Project (CAMP). The goal of CAMP is the long-term monitoring of amphibian species diversity in Connecticut. This long term monitoring provides baseline data for amphibian species and may detect long term changes in their diversity. Protocols include frog call surveys, and night road searches during spring, summer and fall. Volunteers in CAMP received detailed instruction and survey material. CAMP data is provided to state, federal and private agencies involved in conservation. (Contact person: Dawn McKay, 860-424-3540)

Rattlesnake Population Assessment: The state-endangered timber rattlesnake was studied through spring, summer and fall surveys and through extensive research focusing on their historic distribution in Connecticut. An evaluation of current threats and recommendations for protection were provided to better manage this imperiled reptile. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Black Racer Survey: This project, to study the movement patterns and habitat use of the black racer snake, involved marking, recapturing and radio-tracking individuals during their active season. The results provided researchers with specific habitat requirements of the black racer. ( Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Bog Turtle: Funding for the development of a plan to protect and conserve the state endangered and federally threatened bog turtle. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Plants:

Herbarium Research on Candidate Plant Species: In 1996 the major New England herbaria were visited to get information about 63 species of plants that occur in Connecticut. A herbarium is a museum collection of dried plant specimens, mounted and labeled for scientific study. Location information recorded on the voucher specimen labels assisted the DEEP in determining the status of species that are believed to be regionally rare and assisted in the 1997 re-evaluation of the State Endangered Species List. (Contact person: Nancy Murray, 860-424-3589)

Mapping of State Listing Candidate Species - Plants: Information on 39 candidate plant species has been incorporated onto the hard copy reference maps, the Geographic Information Systems coverages of listed species, and the manual files of listed species maintained by the Natural Diversity Data Base. (Contact person: Nancy Murray, 860-424-3589)

Bluff Point Coastal Reserve Vegetative Study: DEEP staff and Connecticut College students conducted inventories documenting baseline conditions of the vegetation within Bluff Point Coastal Reserve. The information will be used to document the vegetative changes in herbaceous cover species, seedlings and shrubs over time and to identify both impacts and the recovery of state listed species within the Reserve.

Statewide Botanical Field Surveys: Botanical field surveys were undertaken to assess the status of historic populations of State Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern plant species and provide information about size and extent of population, reproduction, and potential threats. Many new populations of state listed plants were located during these surveys. This information is used to update the DEEP's Natural Diversity Data Base (NDDB) and to assist land protection efforts throughout the state. (Contact person: Nancy Murray, 860-424-3589)

Botanical Field Surveys: To conduct botanical field surveys and update historic records and locate new populations of State-listed Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern plant species. Locations and status of populations will be integrated into the Natural Diversity Database and made available to a variety of users. 

Invertebrates:

Dragonfly/Damselfly Project: Color illustrations are being prepared and distribution data is being collected for the dragonflies and damselflies in Connecticut. This information will be used for the production of an atlas documenting the 148 species which occur in Connecticut.

Banded Bog Skimmer: The banded bog skimmer, a state-endangered dragonfly, was the focus of an intensive survey for invertebrates in eastern Connecticut. To add to the survey's success, the state endangered racket-tailed emerald butterfly was also observed.

Connecticut Tiger Beetle Status Survey: Field surveys were conducted to determine the current distribution and population status of tiger beetles in Connecticut. Resulting information will contribute to tiger beetle conservation in the state and will also be incorporated into an existing website that includes an identification key to the species. (Contact person: Nancy Murray, 860-424-3589)

Dragonflies/Damselfies: To develop a dynamic website that promotes the interest in and understanding of Connecticut’s dragonflies/damselflies. The site will feature species accounts, species checklists, illustrations, and thumbnail images with links to high resolution images. The site will engage users from beginner to entomologist level and will encourage active participation in ‘fly watching’.

Fish:

Shortnose Sturgeon Assessment: The shortnose sturgeon, a federally endangered fish species, appears to have two breeding populations in the Connecticut River. To understand the habits and needs of the species, juvenile sturgeon were captured and tagged, using radio transmitters. (Contact person: DEEP Fisheries Division, 860-424-3474)

Distribution and Habitat Characteristics of the Banded Sunfish: This species is listed as threatened in Connecticut. Additional research is needed to accurately assess the distribution and abundance of this species in Connecticut. (Contact person: DEEP Fisheries Division, 860-424-3474)

Shortnose Sturgeon Food habits in the Connecticut River: To aid in identifying limiting factors and critical habitat requirements for the shortnose sturgeon in the Connecticut River. Data collected on food habits and prey preferences are required to aid in determining if prey availability may be one of the limiting factors affecting population numbers of this U.S. endangered species in Connecticut.

Natural Area Preserves:

Pachaug and Mount Misery Natural Area Preserve: During the 1999 field season, information on vegetation patterns and presence of state-listed plant species will be collected at these two preserves. Vegetation maps will be produced and will serve as the basis for the development of a management plan and as a guide for future vegetative studies. (Contact person: Nancy Murray, 860-424-3589)

Robbins Swamp Natural Area Preserve: Robbins Swamp is the state's largest inland wetland, contains many state-listed species, and is also an important wildlife management area. Funding will provide for the development of a plan that details the purpose, character, and protected resources within the Preserve. The plan will also detail management measures that will protect and enhance the Preserve's physical and biological integrity. (Contact person: Nancy Murray, 860-424-3589)

Kitchell Wildlife Sanctuary Vegetation and Botanical Surveys: This Preserve has long been managed as a wildlife sanctuary and its woodlands protected for certain passive recreational uses. A recent comprehensive survey of its vegetation has produced a vegetation cover type map that also documents the locations of state-listed species. This map will serve as a guide for future biological studies and the development of a management plan for the site. (Contact person: Nancy Murray, 860-424-3589)

Hopeville Pond Natural Area Preserve: A one-year "baseline" inventory of the invertebrate fauna was conducted in 1996. This study generated essential data on invertebrates occurring at the Hopeville Pond Natural Area. Surveys were conducted of breeding birds at the Hopeville Pond natural Area Preserve during June 1996. Thirty-nine species of birds were observed or heard in this area with at least 23 species believed to be breeding on the site. These data will be useful to the State in preparing a management plan for the site. (Contact person: Nancy Murray, 860-424-3589)

Canaan Mountain Natural Area Preserve Vegetation and Botanical Surveys: During the growing season of 1997 baseline information about the existing vegetation and plant species of the Canaan Mountain Natural Area Preserve was compiled for the purpose of developing a management plan for the area. (Contact person: Nancy Murray, 860-424-3589)

Higganum Meadows Wildlife Area Avian Study: To perform a study of the Natural Area Preserve which features upland, wetland and riverine communities containing State endangered plant and animal species. A clearer understanding of the year-round avian use of the site will aid development of management plans and the direction of ongoing management efforts.

Matianuck State Park and Natural Area Preserve Invertebrate Study: Preliminary surveys have revealed that open sand patches host a remarkable insect community including the significant finds of Big Sand Tiger Beetle and the Ghost Dune Tiger Beetle. Other invertebrates surveyed will include beetles, flies, wasps, bees, and other sand-dwellers.

Education and Recreation:

Printing of the 1997 Updated List of Connecticut's Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern Species: Funds were used to publish an informational brochure describing, the results of the five year review and update to the state's endangered, threatened and special concern species list. (Contact person: Nancy Murray, 860-424-3589)

Endangered Species/Wildlife Fund Tax Check-Off Program PSA: To develop and air a public service announcement promoting the Endangered Species/Wildlife Fund Tax Check-Off Program. The announcements feature Jim Fowler, famed host of the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, who donated his time.

Endangered Species Fact Sheets: Fact sheets are being developed to provide information on the identification of endangered or threatened plants and animals, as, well as on their habitats, life cycles, distribution and threats to their populations. (Contact persons: Nancy Murray, 860-424-3589 or Kathy Herz, 860-675-8130)

Snake Identification Brochure: A brochure with color pictures of Connecticut snake species was developed to help the public and animal control officers identify snakes found in basements, garages, backyards and local recreation areas. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, 860-675-8130)

Wildlife Viewing Areas: Viewing platforms, boardwalks, blinds, and educational signs have been constructed at various locations statewide to provide the public with the chance to observe and photograph wildlife in its natural habitat and to increase public awareness .of the diversity and complexity of Connecticut's natural resources. Completed viewing areas: Sessions Woods WMA, Burlington; Simsbury WMA, Simsbury; Babcock Pond, Colchester; Goodwin State Forest, Hampton, Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford; Topsmead State Forest, Litchfield; and Barnes Wildlife Observation Area in Pachaug State Forest, Voluntown. (Contact person: Jenny Dickson, (860) 675-8130)

Content Last Updated on August 13, 2014