Wildlife Diversity Fund

 

The Wildlife Diversity Program essentially began in 1981, when the State Legislature created what was then known as the "Nongame Wildlife Fund" and made it possible for individuals to donate any part of their state income tax refund to wildlife. The program does not receive any state tax appropriations and is largely self-supported through voluntary contributions.

In March 1986, the legislature gave the Wildlife Department the ability to invest nongame donations so that interest could be accrued. During the 1989 legislative session, the law was expanded to allow businesses to donate income tax refunds to the program. Several new supplementary funding mechanisms were provided in 1994 via sales of Wildlife Conservation license plates and sales of field licenses. In November 1996, the program’s name was officially changed to the "Wildlife Diversity Program".

A Technical Committee of 21 experts was established in 1985 to provide expertise in the taxonomic areas of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, fish, habitat and education promotion. The Wildlife Diversity Program communicates with this committee throughout the year and meets with its members annually to review the year’s accomplishments.