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

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Support the Bay! Check Line 35 Today!​

​​As a Maryland taxpayer, you can help restore the Chesapeake Bay and conserve rare, threatened and endangered species by donating to the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund on your tax form. It’s simple: just check line 35 on form 502 or line 13 on form 503 and enter in the amount you would like to donate.

Owl, turtle, egret and hare 

Learn more about short-eared owls

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

​​“Making a difference to the welfare of Animals doesn't require a massive effort; it requires small actions that can make a significant impact.”

― Paul Oxton

Donations to this fund are divided evenly between Bay restoration grants, provided by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and rare species programs run by the Wildlife and Heritage Service at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Not only will your donation help the Bay, it is also tax deductible the following year!

If you are a Certified Public Accountant, then consider joining the “CPAs for a Healthy Bay” program led by the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT). "CPAs for a Healthy Bay” is a new program designed to encourage CPAs and other tax professionals to take a few simple steps to raise awareness of the urgent need to support the Chesapeake Bay and Endangered Species Fund around tax time.

Your Line 35 Donation works in hundreds of ways!

Chesapeake Bay education and restoration projects for students.
Stream cleanups and tree plantings by community volunteers.
Habitat research, protection and enhancement for threatened plants and animals.
Protection of Maryland's rare, threatened and endangered species.


Check line 35 on form 502


Some of the projects that your donation dollars help include:​


Conserving the Federally Threatened Bog turtle

​One of the rarest and smallest turtles in North America, bog turtles live in freshwater bogs, fens, wet meadows, marshes, spring seeps and wet cow pastures in northern Maryland. DNR biologists provide technical assistance and help monitor populations of bog turtles throughout the state.

Photo: Stephen Badger

Baltimore Checkerspot

Initiating Conservation Actions for Rare Butterflies

​Over 30 species of butterflies found in Maryland are considered to be rare, threatened or endangered. Tax check-off funds help DNR biologists monitor these species and assist with habitat restoration projects. Maryland’s state insect, the Baltimore Checkerspot, is one such butterfly that benefits from these funds.

Photo: Edwin Guevara


​​Restoring and Managing Sandplain gerardia Habitat​

Sandplain gerardia is a Federally Endangered plant found in dry, sandy and nutrient poor soils. This tiny plant is extremely rare throughout the world, and it can be found in a few sites in Maryland. DNR biologists work to restore the sandy habitats where this species is found.

Photo: Azucena Ponce/USFWS​


Assisting with Important Bird Areas Program​

The Important Bird Areas Program is a global effort to identify and protect areas vital to birds and biodiversity. For this project, DNR staff have partnered with Maryland/DC Audubon staff to identify Important Bird Areas throughout Maryland. To date, 43 sites have been documented in Maryland.

Photo: Scott Suriano

For more information on the tax check-off program, please call:

The Chesapeake Bay Trust at 410-974-2941 or
The Department of Natural Resources at 410-260-8540

Help the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland Wildlife!​