Michigan DNR awards more than $1.7 million in grants to benefit fish and aquatic systems

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is awarding more than $1.7 million in fishery habitat grants for conservation projects on lakes and streams across the state. The funds are complemented by more than $950,000 in partner contributions, for a total conservation value of approximately $2.7 million.

“These grants provide critical funding for projects that produce cleaner water, healthier fish populations and better aquatic habitats, all of which make the outdoors safer and more enjoyable for residents,” said Division Chief Randy Claramunt. DNR Fisheries Department. “Our natural resources have always been critical to Michigan’s appeal as an outdoor recreation destination, and creative and collaborative projects like these have a positive and lasting impact on those resources.”


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The projects will rehabilitate and protect valuable fish habitats that form the foundation for Michigan’s world-class fisheries. two of them are DNR Priority Habitat Conservation Projects – those proactively identified by the department as important to maintaining healthy habitats, fisheries and aquatic communities – and four others are projects that directly benefit Michigan priorities Wildlife Action Plan.

The Fisheries Habitat Grant program provides funding for a variety of activities including fish habitat conservation, dam removal and repair, resource assessment studies, and access to recreational opportunities such as fishing. Funds from fishing license sales, state of Michigan general funds and an agreement with Consumers Energy are distributed across three grant areas: aquatic habitat conservation, dam and aquatic habitat management, and watershed recreation of the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon rivers.

Most of the funding is distributed through traditional grants that are funded this year, but the Fisheries Habitat Grant program also provides conditional commitments for future years’ funding. These conditional commitments allow partners to leverage future Fisheries Habitat Grant funds in applications for federal and other funding sources, making high-priority and sometimes very costly projects possible.

Joe Nohner, DNR Fisheries Division resource analyst, said the funded projects will protect and rehabilitate aquatic habitats across the state and, in many cases, also improve public safety through dam removal.

“These projects are critical to strengthening and maintaining populations of fish and other aquatic species,” Nohner said. “They will improve fish migration in more than 327 miles of Michigan streams and boost public safety by removing three dams and seven culverts.”

Support work in 12 counties.

This year’s funded projects (and the counties where the projects are located) include:

  • City of Battle Creek – Kalamazoo River Restoration Project (Calhoun County), $325,000.
  • City of Kalamazoo: Portage Creek Habitat Restoration in Milham Park (Kalamazoo County), $75,000.
  • Conservation Resource Alliance – Boyne Falls Dam Removal Options Analysis (Charlevoix County), $135,000 conditional commitment.
  • Conservation Resource Alliance – Manistee River Tributary Aquatic Organisms Passage (County Wexford), $150,000.
  • Conservation Resources Alliance – N. Cole Creek/24th Street Fish Passage (Lake County), $100,000.
  • Conservation Resource Alliance – Stony Creek Restoration, Fish Passage, and Marshville Dam Removal Implementation (Oceana County), $108,604.
  • DNR Division of Fisheries: Muskegon Walleye Breeding Pond Intake Improvements (Muskegon County), $156,000.
  • Duplain Township – Duplain Township (Clinton County) dam removal engineering and design, $225,000. (The snow-covered Elsie Dam is shown above.)
  • JA Woollam Foundation – Fox River Headwaters Fish Passage Restoration (Alger County), $62,264.
  • Michigan Trout Unlimited – North Branch Manistee Creek Restoration and Enhancement at Flowing Wells (Kalkaska County), $144,800.
  • Michigan Trout Unlimited – Riparian timber inventory for opportunistic stream enhancement on state lands (Crawford and Kalkaska counties), $27,700.
  • Trout Unlimited: Habitat and Connectivity Restoration in the White River Watershed (Newaygo County), $250,500.

Fisheries Habitat Grant funds are available annually to local, state, federal and tribal governments and nonprofit groups through an open and competitive process. The next call for proposals is expected to be announced in September.

Learn more about the fishery habitat grant program and other grant opportunities at