More great news from California! AB 971, introduced and championed by California Assembly member Bill Monning (D-Carmel) to re-establish the California Sea Otter Fund on state income tax forms, was introduced Wednesday on the California Assembly floor and passed by a vote of 72-3!
Not only does a lot of credit for this bill passing the Assembly floor go to Assemblyman Monning for his tireless efforts and recognition of the importance of sea otters along California’s coasts, but it also goes to the Defenders supporters in California who let their representatives know that they care about sea otters and want to make sure everything is being done to ensure their survival.
Last year was a record year for the number of sea otters found dead (305 animals recovered) and the money raised from the California Sea Otter Fund currently supports a long-term study to determine the impacts that toxic chemicals and disease-carrying pollution are having on sea otters living along the developed areas of the California coast. While some of these answers are known, researchers are looking for a deeper understanding of the relationships between sea otters and their habitat, questions that can only be answered with continued research funded by the continuation of the California Sea Otter Fund.
This is a big first step in protecting sea otters and ensuring their survival and for your help in this key victory we here at Defenders want to thank you!
AB 971 will be introduced to the Senate sometime in late June to early July. We hope we can count on you again when the time comes to contact your senators and to tell them to protect these magnificent ocean dwellers. And once again, thank you very much for your support not only on this, but on all our issues!
The California Sea Otter Fund supports a long-term study that aims to better our understanding how toxic chemicals and disease-carrying pollution harm sea otters. But marine biologists suspect that many unknown forces may also have a hand in dragging otter numbers down. Researchers are hopeful, however, that the clues revealed by the study will help to buoy sea otters back to safety.
This vital research wouldn’t be possible without your help! So don’t miss this opportunity to save these charismatic marine mammals.
Check out this short video featuring renowned ocean advocate, Philippe Cousteau, to learn more.
It is said that looks aren’t everything and California’s sea otters would definitely agree. Despite their cute and adorable looks sea otters are facing extremely tough times.
Even as legislation was introduced in 2011 to allow the wildly successful Sea Otter Tax Check-off program to remain on California’s tax form for another 5 years, the 2010 sea otter census showed that California sea otter populations continued to decline for the second straight year and scientists aren’t sure exactly why. Even more troubling, 304 sea otters – more than 10% of the population – were found dead from disease and shark attacks last year, a significant rise from previous years.
Tough times indeed.
Defenders is tirelessly working to make sure Californians know that they can help make a positive difference for sea otters again this year by donating as little as $1 to Sea Otter Tax Fund when filing their taxes this year. This money will go directly to fund the research and programs dedicated to sea otter survival.
For sea otters, nothing says, “I love you,” like a bucket of fresh abalone on ice. But what these fuzzy marine mammals would love even more is continued funding for important research and recovery programs.
And Californians have an easy way to contribute. Just check the box next to the CA Sea Otter Fund on your state income tax form, and you can to make a positive difference for sea otters.
Known as a keystone species, sea otters are critical for the health of California’s near shore waters and over the past four years, the Golden State has raised over one million dollars to support sea otter research and recovery efforts through the tax check-off program, which will sadly come to an end this year.
The good news is that Assemblyman Bill Monning will be introducing a bill in less than 2 weeks in the California Legislature to extend the program. Show your support by helping the fund meet this year’s target of $260,890.
Not in California? You Can Still Give a Gift that Helps Save Sea Otters