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Tuesday, February 7 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Technical Session. Promoting Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Partnerships Through State-Funded Grant Programs

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AUTHORS: Clay Buchanan, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: During the last hunting license restructure, the Michigan DNR promised to provide greater benefits to stakeholders. One of the tools used to fulfill this promise was the implementation of grant opportunities for a wide range of citizens, non-governmental organizations, and agencies.  Grants leverage the resources and interests of conservation partners and range from a few thousand dollars to more than $150,000 which can be used to restore a one acre forest opening or a 600 acre grassland complex. The process of receiving a grant includes a competitive application and scoring process that assesses and balances the merit of the proposed project with the habitat goals of the MDNR and the benefits of long-term partnership building. Grants are awarded annually and well distributed across the state. Over the last 4 years, the Wildlife Division of the MDNR had awarded over $4 million to partners resulting in habitat restoration on thousands of acres. Congruently, the program has fostered and strengthened conservation partnerships that we believe will bring about long-term regulative, policy, habitat, and wildlife population benefits. Feedback from partners suggests higher satisfaction and trust pertaining to Michigan DNR activities and continued future cooperation. While the outputs of this program appear wholly beneficial, there are a number of accompanying issues. Administration, on both ends is rather burdensome, although we have made dramatic attempts to reduce the administrative workload. An unsuccessful applicant annually offers negative feedback to legislators after review of their project score, rank, and funding decision. As a program, it is relatively easy to measure and express success in meeting acreage goals as proposed in grant applications, however, defining partnership success is more difficult or abstract. This presentation will discuss the grant program framework and the mix of qualitative and quantitative benefits and costs of a state administered habitat grant program.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Grand Ballroom E

Attendees (7)