(CBS DETROIT) – An estimated $1.825 million is expected to be available through a new Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant opportunity that combines three previously separate programs and will provide targeted funding for a variety of activities including fish habitat conservation, dam removal and repair, resource assessment studies and access to recreation.

Joe Nohner, a resource analyst with the DNR Fisheries Division, said the department decided to unite those programs to make it easier for applicants to apply for and receive funding, for efficiency and consistency in grant management, to better incorporate stakeholder feedback and, ultimately, to improve outcomes for natural resources and human safety.

“The new Fisheries Habitat Grant will ensure funded projects are better designed, make it easier for applicants to leverage state funds to acquire additional project funding, and allow us to consider a single application relative to the funding sources for which it is eligible,” Nohner said.

Fisheries Habitat Grant funding is available through an open, competitive process to local, state, federal and tribal governments and nonprofit groups, for single- and multiple-year projects. That funding is derived from:
• An expected $1,250,000 from the Game and Fish Protection Fund, supporting the aquatic habitat conservation theme.
• An expected $350,000 from the state’s General Fund, supporting the dam management theme.
• An expected $225,000 from a hydropower license and settlement agreement between Consumers Energy and several entities including the DNR, supporting the aquatic habitat and recreation in the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon watersheds theme.

Available grant amounts start at a minimum of $25,000, up to a maximum set at the total available funding level in all theme areas for which a project is eligible. If necessary, smaller projects within the same region addressing similar issues and system processes can be bundled into a single grant proposal package in order to reach the minimum grant amount.

All applicants must complete and submit a short preproposal for DNR review. Preproposals must be submitted by email to Chip Kosloski at kosloskic3@michigan.gov no later than Friday, Aug. 30. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their preproposal by Friday, Oct. 4, and if successful, will be invited to submit a full application. An invitation to submit a full application does not guarantee project funding.

The DNR will host an informational webinar from 10:30  a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7. It’s a great opportunity for interested applicants to ask questions about the new grant program. To register for the webinar, email Joe Nohner at nohnerj@michigan.gov.

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