The DNR Waterways Program Grants provide funding for engineering studies and infrastructure improvements. Michigan grant-in-aid harbors and public boating access sites managed by local governments. For 2021 over $3.8m was allocated across the state for waterways projects. Here are the projects submitted by Michigan DNR Grants for improvements in the Upper Thumb for the past two years.
Projects Submitted in 2020
- Caseville Municipal Harbor Fuel System – This was deemed a critical project. $864,309 was awarded for the project of which $40,727 was raised by the City of Caseville. The total project cost $905,036.
- Harbor Beach Municipal Marina Asphalt Replacement – This project was not funded due to lack of funding and low criticality score. Harbor beach asked for $74,000 of which the community would match $76,000 for a total project cost of $150,000.
Projects Submitted in 2021
- City of Harbor Beach Municipal Marina asphalt replacement (Huron County) This project was approved. The City of Harbor Beach asked for $75,400. $76,200, of which the community would match. Total project cost $151,600
DNR approves nearly $4 million in grants for recreational boating improvements and development
Today, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that more than $4 million in grant funding would be awarded to 23 communities throughout the state to boost recreational boating.
The funding is made possible through the DNR Parks and Recreation Division’s waterways grant program, which began in 1949 to expand the harbor system along the Great Lakes and boat access sites throughout the state. Today, the system includes more than 1,300 state-sponsored boating access sites, 19 state-managed harbors, and 63 local state-sponsored harbors of refuge along the Great Lakes.
“Water and boating are at the heart of Michigan,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks, and Recreation Division chief. “We have residents who live on the water, those who travel all over the state to boat, and visitors who come here from around the world because it’s the Great Lakes State. Michigan offers outdoor recreational opportunities and picturesque views not found anywhere else. So it’s of utmost importance that the DNR helps invest and fund Michigan’s harbors and boating access sites for the benefit of all.”
Local government and state colleges and universities are eligible to apply for grant assistance for recreational boating improvements and development at grant-in-aid harbors and public boating access sites. The grant-in-aid program provides matching funding to help support quality recreational boating infrastructure. Communities are asked to match 50% of the required funds.
In 2020, when lake levels were at record highs, many facilities had emergency needs. As a result, the waterways grant program was strongly focused on assisting communities with emergency infrastructure needs. Fortunately, this year with lake levels receding, the grants have focused on more typical infrastructure improvements, such as engineering studies, design, and infrastructure improvements.
This year, projects in Alger, Alpena, Baraga, Berrien, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Dickinson, Emmet, Houghton, Huron, Leelanau, Manistee, Marquette, Mason, and Wayne counties were approved for projects that include emergency seawall replacement, skid pier replacement, and overall marina improvements.
View a full list and descriptions of this year’s Waterways Program Grant awards.
The grants are funded through the Michigan State Waterways Fund, a restricted fund derived primarily from boat registration fees and a portion of Michigan’s gas tax that supports the construction, operation and maintenance of public recreational boating facilities.
The application period for the next round of Waterways grant funding are due Friday, April 1, 2022.