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Upper Peninsula Deer Habitat Improvement grants

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced a March 1 deadline to apply for a total of $100,000 in deer habitat improvement grant funding in the Upper Peninsula.

The Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative is a competitive grant program designed to enhance deer habitat on non-state lands in the Upper Peninsula.

“To date, over $530,000 in grant funds have been spent across the U.P. on 70 projects,” said Bill Scullon, DNR field operations manager and administrator for the grant initiative. “These projects have involved hundreds of private landowners, positively impacting thousands of acres of habitat.”

Groups eligible for these grants include organizations with a formal mission to promote wildlife conservation and/or hunting, such as sportsmen’s clubs, conservation districts, land conservancies, industrial landowners with more than 10,000 acres, or private land affiliations where two or more unrelated persons jointly own 400 or more acres.

“There are three primary goals applicants should strive to meet,” Scullon said. “The projects should produce tangible deer habitat improvements, build long-term partnerships between the DNR and outside organizations and showcase the benefits to the public.”

Scullon said the total amount of grant funding available is $100,000. The maximum amount of individual grants is $15,000 and the minimum is $2,000.

Now in its tenth year, the initiative is supported by the state’s Deer Range Improvement Program, which is funded by a portion of deer hunting license revenue.

Previous projects funded under the initiative include planting of red oak, conifers and wildlife orchards; rehabilitation of historic wildlife openings; native prairie restoration, and scarification for conifer regeneration. Some past grant recipients have also facilitated youth hunting opportunities on improved private lands.

“These projects are prime examples of how partner organizations can work with the DNR to enhance deer habitat,” Scullon said.

In the U.P., all of the deer population is situated on about 30 percent of the region’s landscape during the winter months.

In the northern U.P., 69 percent of the deer population depends on 17 percent of the lands defined as deer wintering complexes. In the southern U.P., 31 percent of the deer use 13 percent of the landscape.

Roughly 80 percent of the deer wintering habitat in the U.P. is owned or managed by entities other than the DNR.

Project applications must be postmarked by Thursday, March 1, and successful applicants will be notified by Monday, March 19. The complete grant application package is available on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants.

For more information or questions regarding eligibility, please contact Bill Scullon at 906-563-9247 or scullonh@michigan.gov.