Michigan DNR awards grants totaling $100,000 for UP deer habitat projects

(Michigan Department of Natural Resources photo) Grants awarded under the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative will enhance deer habitat on non-state lands in Marquette, Alger, Delta, Dickinson, Iron, Baraga, Ontonagon, Gogebic, Schoolcraft and Mackinac counties.

MARQUETTE — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has awarded a total of $100,000 in deer habitat improvement grant funding to a dozen entities for projects in the Upper Peninsula.

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

This year, 12 grants were awarded from 18 applicants for projects across 10 of the U.P.’s 15 counties. The value of the projects awarded grants totaled $201,541.

“These grants will produce positive impacts in Marquette, Alger, Delta, Dickinson, Iron, Baraga, Ontonagon, Gogebic, Schoolcraft and Mackinac counties,” said Bill Scullon, DNR field operations manager and administrator for the grant initiative. “The planned match for the 12 grants is valued in excess of $79,000 — well in excess of the required 25% — further expanding the impact of the projects.”

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.

Primary goals for each of the projects include producing tangible deer habitat improvements, building long-term partnerships between the DNR and outside organizations and showcasing the project 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 15th year, the initiative is supported by the state’s Deer Range Improvement Program, which is funded by a portion of deer hunting license revenue.

The Iron-Baraga Conservation District has been awarded $10,000 for a project to partner with multiple landowners in Iron and Baraga counties, including the Forest Park School Forest. This project involves the planting of fruit trees, wildlife bushes and oaks as sources of hard and soft mast. Additionally, a wide variety of conifer species will be planted to create cover habitat. The conservation district proposed a match of $11,350.

U.P. Whitetails of Dickinson County has been awarded $3,000 to plant 100 white oak saplings with tubes and stakes on five private landowner parcels. The goal is to increase hard mast.

Additionally, 10 local U.P. Whitetails board members will each receive four Dunston chestnut saplings with protectors to assess the potential for broader use of chestnuts in the area. The project will be overseen by a professional forester with the conservation district doing the planting of chestnuts themselves. The organization proposed a match of $1,050.

The Marquette County Conservation District has been approved for a $14,870 grant to improve critical deer wintering habitat on three parcels within the county owned by Lyme Timber Company. All parcels are enrolled in the Commercial Forest Program Act and are open to public foot access for hunting and trapping purposes. MCCD proposed a match of $5,399.

Since the grant program’s inception, nearly $1 million has been made available to U.P. partners for more than 100 projects. The reach of the program has been hundreds of private landowners over thousands of acres, involving all the region’s 15 counties.

For more information on the grant program, contact Scullon at 906-250-6781 or scullonh@michigan.gov.


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