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Date: January 23, 2001

Use tax refunds to protect land and improve environment

(RICHMOND) - Looking for an easy way to help Virginia's environment and natural resources, or help provide outdoor recreation in your community? If you're receiving a state tax refund you can donate any or all of it for such use.

Designate your voluntary contribution on lines 20 and 21 of Schedule ADJ, to accompany the Virginia Tax Return (760). If you choose the "Open Space Conservation and Recreation Fund," write in the numbers 6-8. If you choose the "Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund," write in the numbers 7-1. A contribution to either helps preserve resources critical to the commonwealth and to future generations.

"Many citizens, through voluntary actions like donating private land or participating in Adopt-A-Stream, maintaining our state parks and volunteering in state natural areas, demonstrate an enormous stewardship ethic," said David G. Brickley, director of Virginia's Department of Conservation and Recreation. "These voluntary contribution funds allow a quick mechanism to provide additional support."

And, there's an additional benefit to you: these contributions are tax-deductible.

Money designated for the Open Space fund has helped purchase state natural areas such as Bushmill Stream (Northumberland County), North Landing River (Virginia Beach), Poor Mountain (Roanoke) and the Pinnacle (Russell County). It has also provided for public access and interpretive signage for the Natural Area Preserve System. Rare species protected by fund monies include cranberry, least bittern and pirate bush, as well as rare freshwater mussels and fish in the Clinch River.

This fund is used to acquire land for recreational purposes and as matching grants to localities for meeting outdoor recreational needs.

Contributing to the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund has been an option for only a couple years, yet contributions are increasing. Recently the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation announced the state met a goal of reducing nutrients in the Shenandoah-Potomac rivers, thereby lessening the nonpoint source pollution affecting a portion of the Chesapeake Bay.

However, there are similar goals yet to be met for the James, York and Rappahannock rivers. Monies from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund would be used toward those efforts.

Virginia taxpayers who aren't receiving refunds can always contribute to these funds directly by mailing a check, payable to Treasurer of Virginia, to DCR / 203 Governor St., Suite 302 / Richmond, Virginia 23219.

If you contribute your refund to either the Open Space Recreation and Conservation or the Chesapeake Bay Restoration fund, you can list the amounts as itemized deductions on your 2001 federal and state income tax forms.

If you have questions about contributing to these funds, contact the Virginia Department of Taxation at (804) 367-8031 or online at For questions about either contribution fund, call the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation at (804) 786-7961 or check the Internet at


Editors' note: digital photos of some natural areas and species listed in release available by contacting Lois delBueno at DCR at (804) 786-7961 or

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