DNR awards $100,000 in U.P. deer habitat improvement grants March 18, 2016 Michigan

Michigan Deer Population, Management News and Information Archive

DNR awards $100,000 in U.P. deer habitat improvement grants

One dozen projects funded across 10 counties

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has awarded a total of $100,000 in deer habitat improvement grants in the Upper Peninsula to be allocated between a dozen recipients.

A white-tailed deer looks toward the photographer from a wintry Upper Peninsula forest.“This grant cycle was extremely competitive,” said Bill Scullon, DNR field operations manager from the Norway Field Office and grant program administrator.

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

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

In all, there were 27 grant project proposals received this year, requesting a total of $293,521.

The DNR requested proposals for the program in January.

A six-member panel evaluated the grant proposals on the basis of five evaluation criteria:

  • Production of tangible deer habitat enhancement benefits.
  • Project is logistically feasible.
  • Public accessibility and/or proximity to public lands.
  • Partner will provide the required 25 percent cost share and participate in implementation of the project.
  • The inclusion of a communications strategy.

“In some cases, by not funding the selected projects at 100 percent of the requested amount – but still providing enough money to accomplish the proposal goals – we were able to extend the reach of the program this year,” Scullon said.

Projects have been approved for partnering organizations in Iron, Gogebic, Dickinson, Ontonagon, Chippewa, Luce, Mackinac, Baraga, Marquette and Alger counties.

“They run the gamut from spring break out wildlife openings, planting oaks in areas impacted by beach bark disease, planting soft mast trees, conifer plantings in deer wintering complexes, native prairie plantings, oak stand establishment from acorns and enhancing food plots used in a mentored youth hunting program,” Scullon said.

The proposals selected for funding this year are:

  1. Alger Conservation District - $10,000
  2. Camp Josh Inc. - $4,786
  3. Chippewa-Luce-Mackinac Conservation District - $10,000
  4. Dickinson Conservation District - $10,000
  5. Eastern Dickinson County Sportsmen’s Club - $2,479
  6. Gogebic County Forestry and Parks Commission - $4,740
  7. Gogebic Conservation District - $9,900
  8. Iron-Baraga Conservation District - $12,620
  9. Marquette Conservation District - $10,000
  10. Ontonagon County Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited - $6,900
  11. The Forestland Group and U.P. Whitetails Inc. - $10,000
  12. Wildlife Unlimited of Iron County - $8,484

"These projects are prime examples of how partner organizations can work with the DNR to enhance deer habitat across the region on state-managed lands,” Scullon said. “This is especially important in light of the recent difficult winters and their negative impacts on the deer herd."

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

Groups eligible for the grants included 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.

For more information, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants.

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