CARMEL (AP) — A central coast legislator is introducing a bill that would help protect threatened sea otters by keeping a voluntary contribution check box on state income tax forms.

Legislation by Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Carmel, would extend a deadline from 2012 to 2016 for the optional contributions on the 540 state income tax form.

Conservation group Defenders of Wildlife says about 3,000 otters face threats from toxic substances in the water, fishing nets and damage to their habitat by manmade development.

The group says the tax form contributions raised $263,543 for sea otter protQections in 2010.

Monning says his bill is important for the otter’s survival, and the optional contribution helps the state fund future protections.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report)


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