The Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides nearly $ 1.6 million in funding for various activities related to improving the state’s fisheries and aquatic resources, including conservation of fish habitat, dam removal and repair, resource assessment studies and access to recreation.
Distributed through three themes – aquatic habitat conservation, dam management and aquatic habitat, and recreation in the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon river watersheds – Fisheries Habitat Grant funding is available through an open and competitive process for local, state, federal and tribal governments and not-for-profit groups.
âHealthy waters benefit everyone. Whether it’s better fishing, more resilient ecosystems, or improved human security, these projects are having a positive impact across Michigan, âsaid Joe Nohner, Fisheries Resource Analyst. of the DNR. âThese grants help our partners protect and rehabilitate fisheries and waters in a state that relies heavily on these resources as the foundation for tourism and quality of life.
Examples of proposed projects addressing the causes of habitat decline include efforts to:
- Improve the management of riparian land (land located near or on water).
- Restore the natural levels of the lakes.
- Improve or create passages for aquatic organisms by removing culverts, dams and other barriers.
- Improve water quality.
- Implement watershed-based approaches to improve both water quality and quantity.
- Develop projects that demonstrate habitat conservation.
- Restore the flow function.
- Add structural habitats, such as woody habitat or aquatic vegetation.
- Conduct assessments that will guide conservation projects.
- Complete other projects that meet program goals.
Grant and application guidelines
Grant applicants can apply for and receive funding from all three themes with a single application, if they are eligible for each. The expected funding comes from three sources, namely:
- Approximately $ 1,140,000 from the Game and Fish Protection Fund, supporting the theme of aquatic habitat conservation.
- $ 265,000 from the General State Fund, supporting the theme of dam management.
- $ 185,288 from a hydroelectricity permit and a settlement agreement between Consumers Energy and several entities, including the MRN, supporting aquatic habitat and recreation in the watersheds of the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon rivers.
Applicants have the option of requesting funding from the current funding cycle or a conditional commitment of funding from a future year. Contingent commitments to highly competitive projects allow grantees to leverage MNR contributions to request additional funding sources for larger projects or to secure a funding commitment based on other conditions. The available funding announced in this announcement does not include $ 257,817 in existing conditional commitments that MNR has made to partners from this year’s grants.
Grant amounts start at a minimum of $ 25,000 and can reach the total amount of funding available in all thematic areas for which a project is eligible. If necessary, smaller projects within the same region addressing similar issues can be consolidated into a single grant proposal package to meet the minimum grant amount.
MNR identifies specific priority projects, through its list of priority fisheries habitat conservation projects, which will be given preference when reviewing proposals. Applications for projects on this list will still need to be competitive in other aspects, such as cost, appropriate methods and design, and applicants’ expertise, so grants should not exclusively fund projects in this list. listing. In previous grant cycles, approximately 40% of all funded projects were priority fisheries habitat conservation projects.
All applicants must first discuss their project with a fisheries biologist, then complete and submit a short pre-proposal for consideration by MNR. Pre-proposals should be submitted by email to Chip Kosloski at [email protected] no later than November 12th. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their pre-proposal by December 14 and, if selected, will be invited to submit a full application.
An invitation to submit a full application does not guarantee project funding. Final funding announcements are expected to be made by May 31, 2022. The detailed program manual, including timeline, pre-proposal guidelines, and forms are available at Michigan.gov/DNRGrants.