Give wildlife a chance
Did you know
that you can support wildlife conservation in Georgia through your income tax return? The Give Wildlife a Chance checkoff
is this easy: Fill in an amount more than $1 on line 26 of the long state income tax form (Form 500) or line 10 of the short form (Form 500-EZ). Then deduct the contribution from your refund or add it to payment. Georgia DNR's Nongame Conservation Section
receives no state funding to conserve nongame wildlife, native plants and natural habitats. We depend on contributions, grants and fundraisers, like the income tax checkoff. The Give Wildlife a Chance checkoff makes up about 10 percent of revenue to the state's Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund. Bottom line: Your checkoff counts!
Here are other ways to help:
* Buy a conservation license plate
directly to the Nongame Conservation Section.
* Join TERN
, the Nongame Conservation Section's friends group.
* Use GoodSearch
for your Internet searches (enter "Georgia Nongame Conservation Fund" under "Who do you GoodSearch for" and click "Verify").
Even if you’re not a biologist
, you can help monitor bird population health. How? By participating in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count
! Sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, this citizen science event is set for Feb. 18-21. Just count birds from a favorite place (perhaps your yard or a nature center) for at least 15 minutes on one or more of the days. Record the highest number of each species you see together at any one time. Then enter your checklist at www.birdsource.org/gbbc
. By combining your count information with other nationwide data, the Great Backyard Bird Count provides an early warning system for birds in need of conservation help.
The Garden Club of Georgia
has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to Georgia college students over the last two years. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2011. Applicants must be majoring in a garden-related field, enrolled at an accredited Georgia college or university, and have lived in the state the last four years. Scholarships, which ranged in 2010-2011 from $1,000 to $5,000, are awarded based on need, scholastic record, character, initiative and general commitment to the field of study. Learn more: online
, e-mail (email@example.com
), phone (706-227-5369).
Slammed in Seminole
: When Ranger 1st Class Jeff Phillips heard gunfire from a suspected duck shoot Jan. 22 in Seminole County, he called Sgt. Rick Sellars for help. The officers found the group at a pond near the Chattahoochee River. While Phillips checked licenses, Sellars checked the pond and found it baited with corn. He also found a red-shouldered hawk
that had been shot. Six hunters were cited for hunting waterfowl over bait, three for hunting without a Georgia waterfowl license and one for hunting with lead shot. A juvenile was given verbal guidance concerning these violations and for shooting the hawk. The hawk and 23 ducks were confiscated.
: Coldwater darters
are small (maximum length 2.6 inches). Typically mottled brown, with brown banding on median fins, a distinct vertical stripe below each eye, and three dark spots vertically aligned at the base of the caudal fin
. Also has an incomplete lateral line forming a pale stripe on the anterior half of the body.
: Endemic to the Coosa River
basin of Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. A recent phylogenetic analysis
concluded that the coldwater darter comprises at least three valid species, one of which is largely restricted to Georgia. Within the state, this species is known from the Etowah, Conasauga, Coosa and Oostanaula river systems, but is presumed extirpated from the Etowah (distribution map
: Primarily limestone springs and spring runs in Ridge and Valley physiographic province
. Found in association with aquatic plants and organic debris in areas with slow or no current. Plant species utilized include watercress, milfoil, eelgrass and aquatic mosses. Occasional specimens have been found in the Conasauga River near the Georgia-Tennessee boundary. It is unknown whether these individuals represent river-dwelling populations or strays from springs connected to the river.
: Mainly small crustaceans (especially amphipods
) and insect larvae.
: Normally lives only two years; thus, successful spawning every year is essential to populations. Spawning may occur March-September. Females attach adhesive eggs to vegetation; there is apparently no-post spawning parental care.
: Small number of extant populations is the greatest threat to the persistence of this species in Georgia. Almost all populations are isolated from each other by long distances, limiting opportunities for recolonization after local population loss. Species requires vegetated springs, which are extremely vulnerable to water supply development, recreational use and abuse, vegetation control practices (e.g., herbicides), and development. For example, conversion to a concrete-bottom swimming pool has probably eliminated the coldwater darter from one of the historic sites in Whitfield County (Conasauga system). Without specific protection, the coldwater darter is vulnerable to extirpation as a result of the loss of spring habitats.
: In Georgia, as of 2009, the coldwater darter has only been documented from 13 sites. Persistence at seven of the sites has been documented since 2000. The species is either extirpated or extremely rare at the remaining sites. The state changed the species status from threatened to endangered in 2006. Although the coldwater darter’s range has been well-surveyed, the small size of springs and their occurrence on private lands suggest the possibility of additional, undiscovered populations. Species global conservation status: critically imperiled. Species is not federally listed.
Conservation and management
: Conservation strategy should focus on protecting and monitoring remaining populations. Springs are vulnerable to contamination from runoff of sediment and pollutants, excessive water withdrawal, and destruction. Yet, the localized nature of springs also makes them relatively easy to protect – leaving large buffers of native vegetation around occupied springs and downstream runs; using best management practices with land-disturbing activities upstream; reducing sedimentation, chemical and nutrient runoff; and avoiding hydrologic changes. Occupied springs should not be stocked with predatory fishes.
Source: Georgia Wildlife Resources Division rare species accounts
Nongame in the news
The Athens Banner-Herald
: "Mass bird deaths tied to fireworks
," research including Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study points to post-fireworks collisions as reason for thousands of dead blackbirds in Arkansas. (Jan. 29)
The Miami Herald
: "Officers trap 14 1/2-foot python in Fla. woods
," wildlife officials say "well fed" African rock python had been someone's pet. (Jan. 28)
The Macon Telegraph
: "Wildlife tag sales fall, but conservation revenues expected to rise
," decrease in sales and increase in revenue follow new specialty plate fees. (Jan. 27)
: "Calls regulation of rare-plant sales
," University of Notre Dame research finds almost 10 percent of threatened or endangered plants sold online. (Jan. 27)
: "Rare whooping cranes back in Rome area
," seven whoopers hanging out at Weiss Lake. (Jan. 27)
The Washington Post
: "Jefferson the hawk leaves the Library of Congress
," video of Cooper's hawk that took shelter in Library captured for rehabilitation. (Jan. 27)
The Augusta Chronicle
: "State cypresses endangered
," Southern Environmental Law Center cypress forests among top 10 most imperiled habitats. (Jan. 19) Related coverage: Florida Times-Union
The New York Times
: "Conspiracies don’t kill birds. People, however, do
," assessing the estimated death toll of 5 billion birds a year in the U.S. (Jan. 18).
The (Gainesville) Times
: "Avian world aflutter over rare sighting of a hummingbird in South Hall yard
," Allen's hummer drawers birders to Gainesville-area backyard. (Jan. 6)
(Albany): "Whooping cranes found dead
," carcasses of three first-year cranes discovered by hunters in Clay County. (Jan. 5)
Related coverage: Reward grows
, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Vancouver Sun
: "North Atlantic right whale freed from rope closely monitored
," young female whale partially disentangled from fishing lines of Florida coast. (Jan. 5) Related coverage: Whale sedated and disentangled
, Savannah Morning News.
The Macon Telegraph
: "State’s purchase of Oaky Woods finalized in Dec.
," $29 million acquisition sealed with final land survey. (Jan. 5)
The Augusta Chronicle
: "Algae linked to death of eagles again
," AVM blamed in death of at least five eagles this winter at Thurmond Lake. (Jan. 4)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
: "St. Simons to get 600-acre nature preserve
," Chicago foundation plans to buy 600-acre Cannon's Point, once held by Sea Island Co. (Jan. 3)
: "Local activist named among '100 Most Influential Georgians'
," list includes Joe Cook of the Coosa River Basin Initiative. (January)
Savannah Morning News
: "In Savannah, birds count
," volunteers focus on Audubon's annual Christmas Bird Count. (Jan. 2)
The Augusta Chronicle
: "Fee for yearlong pass could help fund wildlife areas
," public meetings air proposal for charging visitor fees to users other than hunters and anglers at wildlife management areas. (Dec. 25) Related coverage: Florida Times-Union
The Florida Times-Union
: "Southeast Georgia landowners may apply for longleaf pine preservation funds
," share of $5 million in federal funds targets longleaf preservation and restoration. (Dec. 23)
: Weekend for Wildlife
(Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund fundraiser), Sea Island.
: Georgia River Network annual conference
* Masthead: As part of a NOAA Fisheries Service disentanglement team, DNR Nongame Conservation Section staff cut the remaining ropes off a sedated North Atlantic right whale Jan. 15 off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Fla. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
* Eastern indigo snake in Liberty County. Dirk J. Stevenson
* DNR senior biologists John Jensen checks a gopher tortoise burrow for indigo snakes. Rick Lavender/Ga. DNR
* Dirk Stevenson of The Orianne Society shows a black racer caught by conservation biologist Andy Day. Rick Lavender/Ga. DNR
* Coldwater darter. Dave Neely
* Question mark butterfly. Terry W. Johnson
* DNR scientists working with NOAA Fisheries Service approach the young North Atlantic right whale they disentangled off Florida earlier this month. EcoHealth Alliance. Note: This photo, the masthead image and the videos were taken under NOAA Permit No. 9321489 under the authority of the U.S. Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act.
* Retiring U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Dave Jensen (center) is presented a certificate from the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance by, from left to right, DNR' botany intern Carrie Radcliffe, herpetologist Thomas Floyd and botanist Mincy Moffett. Ga. DNR
* TERN grant recipient Lori Jackson of Barnett Shoals Elementary in Athens is pictured (center, right) with her third-grade class and, left to right, Pete Griffin of Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, Ron Lee of TERN and Anna Yellin of the Nongame Conservation Section. Ga. DNR
volume 4, issue 1
A free monthly e-newsletter produced by DNR and focused on nongame. Subscribe or see previous issues
Wildlife not legally trapped, fished for or hunted, plus native plants and natural habitats.
The Wildlife Resources Division's Nongame Conservation Section
. Our mission: Conserve and protect Georgia's diversity of native animals and plants and their habitats through research, management and education. It's worth repeating that we depend on grants, donations
and fundraisers such as nongame license plate sales
, the Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund state income tax checkoff
and Weekend for Wildlife
Buy a tag:
Nongame license plates – the eagle and hummingbird – are available at county tag offices
, by checking the wildlife license plate box on mail-in registration forms and through online renewal
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