The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced three recipients of grants awarded from the Habitat Improvement Account (HIA) for fiscal year 2017. The HIA funds projects to improve aquatic habitat, fishing access, water quality and the DNR’s understanding of the resources on the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon rivers and was established to mitigate resource impacts from hydropower dam operations.
The three recipients were selected by the DNR’s Fisheries Division, with a total of $180,616 to be distributed over the next two years. The projects approved for fiscal year 2017 include:
Buhl Dam removal – Huron Pines (Alcona County, $58,300 over two years)
The HIA will provide additional funding for the removal of Buhl Dam on the Pine River. This project also received HIA funding during the last cycle; however, since that time, the project scope has grown and additional funding is needed to successfully complete the project. Removal of this dam will allow for aquatic organism passage and improved water quality.
Habitat improvement planning – Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter of Trout Unlimited (Otsego, Crawford, Kalkaska, Oscoda and Roscommon counties, $30,490)
The HIA will fund collection of information on the main channel and tributaries of the Au Sable and Manistee rivers to generate a prioritized list of areas where habitat improvement may be needed. By documenting river characteristics and habitat needs, efforts can be focused on priority projects for funding through HIA or other grant programs.
Muskegon Walleye Pond improvement – DNR Fisheries Division (Muskegon County, $91,826)
The HIA will fund replacement of equipment used to manage the Muskegon Walleye Pond. The Muskegon Walleye Pond provides fingerling walleye that are stocked into the Muskegon River. These fingerlings are critical to maintaining the river’s walleye fishery.
“The HIA is funded by Consumers Energy as part of a major settlement agreement that relicensed the company’s hydropower projects on the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon rivers,” said the DNR’s Habitat Management Unit Supervisor, Jessica Mistak. “The HIA has contributed in excess of $8.5 million and funded more than 150 projects since its inception in 1994.”
For more information on habitat management efforts in Michigan, visit the DNR’s Habitat Management Unit webpage.