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Ohioans can use tax refunds to protect northwest Ohio's rare habitats

• Mar 3, 2018 at 2:00 PM

The spread of non-native invasive species is one of the biggest threats to the native plant diversity in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) officials.

Invasive plants have impacted high quality wetlands, prairies and forests across the state, and the cost of addressing these natural enemies is high.

New legislation in Ohio now regulates 38 invasive species, but controlling these species through eco-management efforts at the ground level is an ongoing challenge. Ohioans who donate a portion of their income tax refunds are joining the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves in the fight against invasive species.

Protecting Ohio’s high quality habitats, such as the globally significant oak openings, is critical. Lucas County sites, such as Irwin Prairie and Lou Campbell state nature preserves, harbor some of the state’s finest wetland habitats. These special places give visitors a chance to see some of Ohio’s rarest species, such as wild lupine, fringed gentian, sedge wrens and frosted elfin butterflies.

Without donations, protecting these preserves from non-native invasive species, like glossy buckthorn and lesser celandine, is difficult. Ohioans can join ODNR by donating all or part of their state income tax refund on line 26e of the 2017 Individual Income Tax Return to state nature preserves. For more information on Ohio State Nature Preserves and how to make a tax donation to support them, visit naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/support.

Donations also support facility improvements like trails, boardwalks and bridges. They also support educational tools, such as signage and special programming.

To learn more about visiting any of Ohio’s 136 state nature preserves open to the public, visit naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov.

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