MI Aquatic Habitat Grant Program

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Grant amount: US $25,000 - US $450,000

Next anticipated deadline: Aug 27, 2019 (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: Nov 16, 2019 (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity Nonprofit College / University

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Michigan

Location of residency: Michigan

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Aquatic Habitat Grant Program

The Aquatic Habitat Grant Program (AHGP) began in October 2013 and will operate each year that funding is available. A total of $1.25 million will be available for this grant cycle from the Game and Fish Protection Fund. The AHGP’s purpose is to improve fish and other aquatic organism populations by protecting intact and rehabilitating degraded aquatic habitat. The AHGP funds target habitat projects by conservation partners that focus on the controlling processes, not the symptoms of the problem. To facilitate the success of these efforts, the program will provide technical assistance to grantees. The AHGP is administered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) through a cooperative effort between Fisheries Division and Grants Management Section.

Program Goals

This program is designed to address the following Department’s and Fisheries Division’s combined goals:

  • Protect intact and rehabilitate degraded aquatic resources.
  • Ensure sustainable fish and aquatic organism communities that enable long-term recreational use and enjoyment and facilitate natural resource based economies.
  • Develop strong relationships and partnerships with respect to aquatic habitat protection and recovery.

The objectives of the Aquatic Habitat Grant Program are to: 

  • Protect intact and fully functioning inland lakes, Great Lakes, rivers and streams habitat with selfsustaining aquatic communities from future impairment.
  • Rehabilitate inland lakes, Great Lakes, rivers and streams habitat whose key physical process that control aquatic habitat and fish production are impaired, where key process include: hydrology; connectivity; material recruitment and movement; geomorphology; and water quality.

Key Objectives and Priorities

The key objectives and priorities addressed by this program are:

  • Protect intact and rehabilitate degraded aquatic resources of the State of Michigan.
  • Increase desirable fish populations, both in biomass and in self-sustainability.
  • Protect all processes essential to maintaining intact systems with self-sustaining aquatic communities including the processes of: connectivity, geomorphology, hydrology, material recruitment and movement, and water quality.
  • Remediate and remove impairments to the above-identified watershed processes and move degraded waters toward intact status that have self-sustaining aquatic communities.
  • Increase direct public involvement in watershed issues.
  • Increase high quality and self-sustaining aquatic resources.

Eligible Projects

  • Projects that protect currently intact waters with fully functioning system processes and self-sustaining aquatic communities.
    • Priority will be given to Aquatic Species of Greatest Conservation Need as identified in Appendix “A”, habitats identified in the 2015 National Fish Habitat Assessment as being at a low risk of degradation with a special emphasis to those in urban areas, and critical aquatic habitat as identified in Fisheries Division documents (e.g. management plans, status of the fishery reports, river assessments).
      • The local DNR Fisheries Biologist should be consulted to obtain this information. Please consult Appendix “B” in the handbook to determine who is the appropriate contact for the proposed project area.
  • Projects that address aquatic habitat issues on public waters.
    • Public waters are those:
      • with legal public access through public lands or public access sites;
      • with a permanent inflow or outflow to other waters; or
      • that have been stocked with fish from DNR (or its predecessors) hatcheries.
    • Priority will be given to projects on public waters with legal public access.
  • Projects that improve degraded watershed processes.
    • Priority will be given to waters with lower numbers of degraded processes with a special emphasis to those near urban areas.
  • Projects that test and evaluate new and innovative methods to improve degraded watershed processes.
    • Priority will be given to those that can serve as demonstration projects to determine applicability of new methods to other Michigan waters.
  • Evaluation of existing and new aquatic habitat improvement projects that will lead to improved decisions for future aquatic habitat projects.
  • Projects that inventory or assess watershed functions that clearly identify how they will lead to protection or remediation projects.

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


  • Any local, state, federal and tribal unit of government or non-profit group in Michigan may apply for an Aquatic Habitat Grant.
  • Matching Funds: The applicant must commit to provide at least 10 percent of the total project cost.


  • Ineligible Projects -
    •  Projects with scope of work outside the grant focus area are not eligible for Aquatic Habitat Grant support.
    • Within the focus area, the following types of projects are also not eligible:
      • Activities that do not protect intact or rehabilitate degraded waters.
      • Development of public access or other recreation sites.
      • Routine maintenance activities.
      • Projects on private waters that include: isolated water bodies without direct public access; waters without permanent inflows or outflows to other water bodies; and waters that have never been stocked with fish from DNR (or its predecessors) hatcheries (i.e. ponds on private property). 
      • Projects that are currently in litigation and/or mitigation.
      • Land acquisition and/or easements (please note that funding for acquisition/easement projects is currently under review). 
  • Ineligible Costs - For all projects, the following items are examples of costs that are ineligible:
    • Costs incurred outside of the project period specified in the project agreement or amendment.
    • Salaries/wages not directly related to the project.
    • Lodging for compensated workers.
    • Lodging or mileage for volunteer laborers.
    • Maintenance and operation.
    • Conference fees and speaker fees.
    • Purchase of equipment (i.e.: chain saws, atvs, vehicles, heavy equipment).
    • Tuition.