Support Conservation in Maine

You can help in several ways to support the work of our biologists, forest rangers, game wardens, improvements to state parks and the other dedicated state conservation projects that enhance Maine’s quality of life.

Sales of two special license plates generate funds for the Departments of Conservation and Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. Best known is the conservation plate, but a support wildlife plate also exists. Next time you register your car, sign up for a conservation license plate or a support wildlife plate.

Maine Conservation Plate Maine Wildlife Plate

Your Conservation License Plate

When you ask for a Maine Conservation License Plate, you’re showing your support for Maine’s special places and its wildlife.

Created by the Maine State Legislature in 1993, the conservation plate directly benefits the Bureau of Parks & Lands [BPL], under the Maine Department of Conservation, as well as the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife[IF&W]. A portion of the proceeds go directly into the Endangered and Nongame Wildlife Fund. In its first two years, more than 80,000 conservation plates were sold!

For every $20 spent for a conservation plate:

  • $8.40 goes to BPL.
  • $5.60 goes to IF&W.
  • and $6.00 to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Your Support Wildlife plate

For every $20 spent for a wildlife plate:

  • $7.00 of that sum is credited to the fish hatchery maintenance fund established in Title 12, section 10252.
  • $2.10 is credited to the Boat Launch Facilities Fund established in Title 12, section 10261.
  • $1.40 is credited to the Maine Endangered and Nongame Wildlife Fund established in Title 12, section 10253.
  • $3.50 is credited to the Support Landowners Program in Title 12, section 10108, subsection 4, paragraph A.
  • and $6.00 to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

How are Those Funds Used?

The conservation plate funds to help maintain and improve Maine’s state parks and historic sites. In 2008, BPL received more than $145,000. The money gets used for basic maintenance supplies and upkeep items, but it also gets spent on significant projects that enhance the enjoyment of Maine’s special places by the public.

Your conservation plate funds have helped:

  • Construct a new day-use shelter at Moose Point;
  • Construct a new 28-foot-long bridge at Bible Point;
  • Replace boat slips at Lily Bay;
  • Make improvements in keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act at the; Lightkeeper’s House at Quoddy Head State Park;
  • Help harvest and saw about 20,000 board feet of lumber from the Camden Hills woodlot, later used to build picnic tables, signs, Adirondack shelters and a cold storage building, as well repair many other park structures throughout the park system;
  • Repair trails, roads and parking lots at Moose Point, Camden Hills, Quoddy Head, Damariscotta Lake, Shackford Head and Birch Point Beach;
  • Installation of a new lifeguard stand at Peaks-Kenny;
  • Purchase a historically important parcel at Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site in Bristol, completing the site area;
  • Plus much, much more!

Funds that go to IF&W help support:

  • Important wildlife conservation
  • Help obtain matching federal funds through the U.S. Endangered Species Act
  • The State Wildlife Grant Program
  • The Landowner Incentive Program

Your Conservation Plate is available in four types: disability, motor home, trailer, and commercial conservation plates.

When you're visiting a state park, ask the staff what improvements the conservation plate money has been able to make possible.

The Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund conserves wildlife and open spaces through the sale of instant Lottery tickets. With proceeds from ticket sales,

rants are awarded twice a year, totaling approximately $700,000 annually. The seven-member Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund Board chooses projects in four categories that promote recreation as well as conservation of Maine's special places, endangered species and important fish and wildlife habitat.

Consider making a contribution to the Endangered Non-Game Wildlife Fund through the Chickadee Check-off option on your state tax return.

In 1983, the State Legislature created the Maine Endangered and Nongame Wildlife Fund by adding a check-off option to the state income tax form. Maine citizens responded generously, and the Maine Endangered Species Program was established. For a decade, except for limited federal dollars, contributions via the "chickadee check-off" were the only source of funding for endangered species conservation in Maine.

All money donated to the Fund, whether through the tax check-off, car registrations, grants, or direct gifts, is deposited into a special, interest-bearing account, from which money can only be spent on the conservation of Maine's endangered and nongame species.

Thanks to generous contributions from Maine citizens, the chickadee check-off and the conservation plate have supported work on many of Maine's rare, threatened, endangered and nongame wildlife species.

Together, we can all help fund these essential state agencies.