State's tax checkoff adds up to easy way of helping wildlife

February 27, 1994|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Staff Writer

Over the past five years, people in Maryland have donated more than $5 million to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund through checkoffs on their state income tax.

The money raised through the tax checkoff are divided equally between the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Department of Natural Resources, which splits its portion between the Natural Heritage Program and the Nongame and Urban Wildlife Program.

Recent DNR surveys showed that 60 percent of Marylanders take an interest in wildlife around their homes and 46 percent of those people did so daily or weekly. An independent survey showed that nearly 2 million people in Maryland participate in wildlife-associated activities.

In contrast, only 2 percent of taxpayers contributed to the tax checkoff. The Nongame and Urban Wildlife Program support programs for species often seen near homes.

"Many people don't realize that wildlife species such as migratory songbirds are showing serious decline," said DNR secretary Dr. Torrey C. Brown. "Contributions to the tax checkoff enable us to work pro-actively to make sure that songbirds never reach the point of being threatened or endangered."

The Chesapeake Bay Trust supports bay restoration efforts and returns donations to communities through grants for restoration

and education projects led by community groups, schools and nonprofit organizations.

This year, the box to check is on line 63, where you can choose the amount of donation, which will be automatically deducted from your refund or added to your tax payment.

Black bass regulations

On Tuesday, fishing regulations for black bass change in fresh and tidal waters of Maryland to protect the spawning populations.

In nontidal waters, unless specified by regulation, no black bass may be kept from Tuesday through June 15. Catch-and-release fishing is permitted during that period, however.

In tidal waters, the minimum size is increased from 12 inches to 15 inches from Tuesday through June 15. The aggregate creel limit is five per day.

OLDEST RECORDS

Ever wonder what the longest standing fishing records are in Maryland waters? The oldest is a 6-pound, 8-ounce chain pickerel taken by James Grant in the Susquehanna River in May 1965. The following are the three oldest records in Chesapeake Bay, Freshwater and Atlantic Coast waters:

CHESAPEAKE BAY

Species ... ... ... Wt. Angler ... ... ... Where caught ... ... ... Date

Chain pickerel ... 6-8 James Grant ... ... Susquehanna River .. ... 5-19-65

Cobia ... .. .. .. 97-12 John Scheifele .. Middle Grounds ... .. .. 9-12-69

Smallmouth bass .. 6-0 Charles Jones .. .. Susquehanna River ... .. 7-23-71

FRESHWATER

Smallmouth bass .. 8-4 Gary Peters ... ... Liberty Reservoir ... .. 10-4-74

Chain Pickerel ... 7-4 Ray Molick Sr. ... Johnson Pond ... .. .. .. 11-27-76

Carp ... ... .. .. 39-0 Jean Ward ... ... Patuxent River ... ... .. 5-18-77

ATLANTIC COAST

Spotted seatrout ... 13-0 Jack Miller ... Sinepuxent Bay ... ... .. 8-21-73

Flounder ... ... ... 17-0 Anthony Vicari ... Assateague Island ... 10-03-74

Bluefish ... ... ... 23-8 Lillian Morris ... Assateague Island ... 10-30-74

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