Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative Grant

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Grant amount: US $2,000 - US $15,000

Anticipated deadline: Mar 1, 2019

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Michigan: Alger County, Baraga County, Chippewa County, Delta County, Dickinson County Expand all

Location of residency: Michigan

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Program Objective(s)

The Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative is a grant program designed to foster productive relationships between the DNR, sportsmen's organizations, concerned citizens and other partners that produce tangible deer habitat improvement benefits and educate the public about the importance of the work and the scientific principles involved in it. This initiative is targeted for implementation only in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) at this time. 


The broad purpose of this initiative is to develop a collaborative approach to deer habitat improvement on private land ownerships across the U.P.; there are three primary goals and expectations for this initiative. All projects must address these fundamental goals in order to be considered for approved funding: 

  • To produce tangible on-the-ground deer habitat (summer and/or winter range) improvements in the U.P. that address resource needs. 
  • To establish/improve partnerships with sportsmen's organizations and other partners, which will promote long-term cooperative relationships with the DNR. 
  • To showcase these cooperative projects through coordinated public relations media outreach.
    • This communications strategy must address two targeted goals
      • to educate the general public on the specific importance and benefits of the particular habitat improvement project, and
      • to feature the cooperative relationship between the DNR and various program partners.

The five proposal evaluation criteria are presented in no particular order:

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

Proposal Types

Organizations considering participation in this Initiative are encouraged to contact their local wildlife biologist or the private land biologist to collaboratively develop project proposals.

Examples of activities proposals may include are: wildlife shrub plantings, tree plantings (i.e. oak or other hard mast species, fruit bearing or other soft mast species, winter cover conifers such as white pine, hemlock, or cedar), scarification for regeneration of lightseeded tree species, non-commercial timber stand improvement activities, direct  mechanical habitat manipulation (i.e. regeneration of aspen or alder habitat), wildlife opening creation or maintenance, plantings of non-invasive herbaceous grasses and forbs, approved warm / cool season grasses, and native prairie herbaceous plantings.

Proposals which involve eligible partners who sponsor or engage in similar habitat improvement projects on multiple eligible landowner types within a region or defined geographic area are eligible provided there are: clear habitat goals; landowner selection criteria; and project methods are consistent with DHIPI intent.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible partners:
    • An application may be submitted by a conservation organization, sportsperson group, non-governmental organizations, land conservancies, and/or local Conservation District(s).
    • Additionally industrial working forest landowners with Upper Peninsula ownership in excess of 10,000 acres are eligible to participate directly.
    • As well, wildlife land management service providers are eligible to submit an application(s) on behalf of an eligible landowner / partner.
    • A formal private land affiliation is a group of 2 more unrelated individuals who own a block of contiguous rural land 400 acres (or larger) for the purpose of wildlife based recreation.
    • Joint or common tenancy may be considered eligible ownership classification provided the land is managed collectively for wildlife based recreation purposes and meets all other requirements.
      • Partners may be UP based or local chapters of state, regional, or national organizations and they must have a formal mission that promotes wildlife conservation and hunting, as recognized by the DNR.
  • Eligible land ownerships: DHIPI projects may occur on:
    • privately owned lands (partner must provide written proof of ownership)
    • industrial forest or Commercial Forest Act (CFA) or Qualified Forest Program (QFP) enrolled lands (with appropriate written permission from landowner)
    • federal lands (with appropriate written permission of federal administrator)
    • other lands with perpetual conservation mandates
  • Project eligibility:
    • To be eligible for consideration, all projects must meet the three Initiative goals in Overview. 
    • Projects that may require repeat applications for funding in multiple fiscal years will be considered, but will be limited to the above funding limitations per fiscal year unless there is unrequested leftover funding available within the current fiscal year. 
  • Matching Funds: Required partner cost share for approved projects is 25 percent of total costs.


  • While not required, public access to projects is highly desired.
    • Projects with provisions that allow legal public access (minimum of foot traffic) for hunting and fishing will benefit in the project scoring process.


  • Private individuals, private hunting clubs, unrecognized organizations, city, municipal, township, county, federal or other state governmental entities and agencies are ineligible to apply directly for funding from this initiative.
    • They may, however, be third-party cooperators to approved projects, where appropriate.
  • Ineligible land ownerships:
    • Lands zoned primarily as business, industrial, agricultural, or within incorporated areas are ineligible.
    • State owned lands are not eligible for Initiative funding in 2017. 
  • Specific activities that will not be considered are plantings of:
    • annual species such as corn or root crops;
    • exotics or invasive species;
    • non-DNR approved naturalized plant species;
    • commercial timber sale preparation, and
    • construction of ponds.
  • Proposals will not be considered if they would:
    • increase undesired habitat fragmentation;
    • increase wildlife disease transmission potential;
    • have human safety implications;
    • are contrary to current DNR policy and opinion; counter to Best Management Practices (BMP’s); or
    • have adverse impacts on state or federally listed threatened and endangered species.