LANSING, MI – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the award of 20 grant projects totaling more than $4 million, under the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program.
The grant program is central to Michigan’s new invasive species initiative, which brings a multi-department, comprehensive approach to the ongoing problem of harmful, non-native invaders such as the Asian carp. The initiative enlists the expertise of the state departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality and Agriculture and Rural Development.
Projects funded in this round of grants include plans to:
- Map and treat of oak wilt (a serious disease that can kill oak trees) in Alpena, Dickinson and Menominee counties.
- Enhance the regional collaboration of the Clean Boats, Clean Waters campaign to support prevention, outreach and education efforts statewide.
- Better integrate aquatic invasives plan management by evaluating, refining and expanding tools and resources available in Southwest Michigan.
“These grants will fund crucial work in battling invasive species, which pose a significant threat to Michigan’s world-class natural resources,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “State agencies can’t undertake this effort alone. Partnerships are vital to keeping our waters, woods and coasts thriving as healthy ecosystems, while at the same time providing the economic and recreational benefits that citizens expect from their outdoor experiences.”
The initiative is made possible through funding first proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder and approved by the Michigan Legislature. The governor and Legislature devoted $5 million in ongoing funding to fight invasive species beginning in the 2015 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2014 through Sept. 30, 2015). A minimum of $3.6 million of the funding is to be devoted to grants, with additional grant funding possible. This year, $4 million of the funding will be put toward grants.
The DNR began accepting grant applications in October 2014. The department received 68 applications, totaling more than $15 million in proposals. Grant applicants were asked to commit to provide at least 10 percent of the total project cost in the form of a local match. Projects funded in this grant cycle must be completed by Oct. 30, 2016.
Applicants – which included a variety of conservation districts and organizations, universities and homeowners associations – were encouraged to submit projects that demonstrated regional collaboration; directly addressed the prevention, detection, eradication or control of priority invasive species; and would result in large ecological benefits with regional and statewide implications.
“Clearly, there is an enormous need and a great willingness on the part of people to work together to address invasive species in Michigan,” said Tammy Newcomb, senior water policy advisor for the DNR, the agency that will administer the grant program. “We look forward to continuing this important work with next year’s grants program.”