Help Save California Sea Otters at Tax Time

Donate to the California Sea Otter Fund on Tax Form 540

California Sea Otter Fund Poster

California’s sea otters need your help, and there’s an easy way to do it by making a voluntary contribution on line 410 of your state income tax return (Form 540).

By contributing any amount over one dollar, Californians can support the California Sea Otter Fund. Donations are tax deductible on next year’s return.

“The voluntary contributions Californians make at tax time are incredibly helpful in efforts to save the cherished California Sea Otters,” said Sam Schuchat, executive officer of the State Coastal Conservancy. “The money raised through tax donations helps pay for essential research and recovery efforts to assure the conservation and survival of this extraordinary resident of our central coast.”

Created in 2006, the Sea Otter tax check off provides essential funding to help state scientists better understand and trace the causes of sea otter mortality, identify factors limiting population growth, and collaborate with other organizations to prevent the pollution of California’s nearshore ocean environment.

According to the most recent survey, there are fewer than 3,000 sea otters in California waters. This small population is vulnerable to oil spills, environmental pollution, predation by sharks, and other threats. Many sea otter deaths have been linked to pollution flowing from land to the sea, including road and agricultural run-off, parasites, and chemicals from coastal land uses. The California sea otter is a Fully Protected Species under the state law and is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Photo of sea otter in the water

Help Save Sea Otters at Tax Time

The California Sea Otter Fund consists entirely of voluntary contributions from California taxpayers. The fund has become especially vital during the current economic downturn because other sources of support for sea otter conservation and research have decreased or disappeared entirely. There are no other dedicated state funding sources available to continue this important work.

The Coastal Conservancy works with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and many others to improve the health of California sea otters. For more information, visit

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SCC/OPC Project Viewer Photo of sea otter in the ocean Help Save Sea Otters at Tax Time