Over $1.7 Million in Grants Will Benefit Fish and Aquatic Systems Statewide

Over $1.7 Million in Grants Will Benefit Fish and Aquatic Systems Statewide

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is awarding more than $1.7 million in Fisheries Habitat Grants for conservation projects on lakes and streams statewide. The funds are matched by more than $950,000 in partner contributions, for a total conservation value of about $2.7 million.

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

The projects will rehabilitate and protect valuable fish habitats that provide 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 sustaining healthy habitats, fisheries and aquatic communities – and another four are projects that directly benefit priorities of Michigan’s 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 recreation opportunities such as fishing. Funding from fishing license sales, state of Michigan general funds and a settlement with Consumers Energy is distributed through three grant areas: aquatic habitat conservation, dam management, and aquatic habitat and recreation in the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon river watersheds.

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 funding from future years. These conditional commitments enable partners to leverage future Fisheries Habitat Grant funds in applications for federal and other funding sources, making high-priority and sometimes very expensive projects possible.

Joe Nohner, a resource analyst with the DNR Fisheries Division, said the funded projects will protect and rehabilitate aquatic habitats across the state, while in many cases also improving public safety through the removal of dams.

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

Supporting work in 12 counties

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

  • City of Battle Creek – Kalamazoo River restoration project (Calhoun County), $325,000.
  • City of Kalamazoo – Habitat restoration of Portage Creek at Milham Park (Kalamazoo County), $75,000.
  • Conservation Resource Alliance – Boyne Falls Dam removal options analysis (Charlevoix County), conditional commitment for $135,000.
  • Conservation Resource Alliance – Manistee River tributaries aquatic organism passage (Wexford County), $150,000.
  • Conservation Resource 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 Fisheries Division – Muskegon walleye rearing pond water intake improvements (Muskegon County), $156,000.
  • Duplain Township – Duplain Township Dam removal engineering and design (Clinton County), $225,000. (The snow-covered Elsie Dam is pictured above.)
  • J.A. Woollam Foundation – Restoring fish passage on the headwaters of the Fox River (Alger County), $62,264.
  • Michigan Trout Unlimited – North Branch Manistee stream restoration and improvement at Flowing Wells (Kalkaska County), $144,800.
  • Michigan Trout Unlimited – Riparian wood inventory for opportunistic stream improvement on state land (Crawford and Kalkaska counties), $27,700.
  • Trout Unlimited – Restoring habitat and connectivity in the White River watershed (Newaygo County), $250,500.

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

Learn more about the Fisheries Habitat Grant program and other grant opportunities at