DNR announces $100,000 available in UP deer habitat improvement grants

A crew of migrant workers plants seedlings to improve deer habitat on a project in Marquette County.

Over the last decade, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has invested over $630,000 of hunting license sales revenue to enhance deer habitat on private lands in the Upper Peninsula.

That significant investment has been made through the Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative, a competitive grant program offered through the DNR’s Wildlife Division.

“Over 80 projects in nearly all of the U.P.’s 15 counties have benefited thousands of acres of deer habitat,” said Bill Scullon, DNR field operations manager in Norway and administrator for the grant initiative. “Partners have contributed over $450,000 in matching funds, which have contributed to expanding the impact of projects.”

For this year, the DNR has announced a March 1 deadline to apply for a total of $100,000 in deer habitat improvement grant funding.

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 eleventh 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.

Project applications must be postmarked by Friday, March 1, and successful applicants will be notified by Monday, March 18. 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.