Twelve fish habitat conservation projects in streams and lakes across the state will share close to $1.8 million in Fisheries Habitat Grants administered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The projects, supported by an additional $1.6 million in matching partner contributions, will rehabilitate and protect valuable fish habitat that provides the foundation for Michigan’s world-class fisheries. Four of the funded projects are identified by the DNR as priority habitat conservation projects.
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 like 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.
Joe Nohner, a resource analyst with the DNR Fisheries Division, said the funded projects will protect and rehabilitate fish habitat across the state, while in many cases also improving public safety through the removal of dams.
“These projects are critical to improving and maintaining populations of fishes and other aquatic species,” Nohner said. “They will improve fish migration in over 210 miles of Michigan streams and make these areas safer for people through the removal or replacement of five dams and 11 culverts.
“Additionally, projects will reconnect northern pike spawning marshes to Stone Ledge Lake, add woody habitat structures to the East Branch of the Au Sable River and the shorelines of Au Train Lake, and improve stream habitat by planting trees to cool water temperatures, reduce erosion and, eventually, provide woody habitat for trout.”
Funding supports work in 11 counties
Projects (and locations) funded by the Fisheries Habitat Grant program include:
Michigan DNR Wildlife Division – Petobego Dam removal and Tobeco Creek restoration (Grand Traverse County), $265,000.
River Raisin Watershed Council – Upper River Raisin Watershed restoration and connectivity (Jackson County), $252,000.
Ram Nek Ranch – Chub Creek stream restoration and connectivity (Crawford County), $203,988.
Conservation Resource Alliance – Spanning the headwaters of the Jordan River and Deer Creek (Antrim and Charlevoix counties), $200,000.
Huron Pines – Pigeon River headwaters: brook trout habitat restoration (Otsego County), $150,500.
The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay – Riparian buffer restoration on Kids Creek (Grand Traverse County), $149,200.
Huron Pines – West Branch Tittabawassee River dam removal (Roscommon County), $125,500.
Cadillac Area Land Conservancy – Stone Ledge Lake fisheries habitat restoration (Wexford County), $109,400.
Muskegon Conservation District – Rio Grande Creek dam removal, Phase II (Muskegon County), $107,500.
Conservation Resource Alliance – East Branch Maple River aquatic organism passage (Emmet County), $100,000.
Upper Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Council – Au Train Lake Cooperative Habitat Enhancement Initiative (Alger County), $89,200.
Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter of Trout Unlimited – East Branch of the Au Sable stream habitat restoration (Crawford County), $38,000.
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 October.