By Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director
The EGLE/DEQ Water Resources Division has just announced it awarded $12,300 under the Aquatic Invasive Plant (AIS) Control Grant Program for 13 projects to control aquatic invasive plant species using chemical or physical methods. The grant application deadline was July 1, 2019, and the $12,300 in grants will be dispersed on or about April 2020.
The grants to lake associations and local governments in 12 counties will reimburse only permit fees for the inland lake projects. Work to control invasive species will take place for the following “grantees”: Big Bass Lake in Lake County, Birch Lake in Cass County, Brownwood Lake in Van Buren County, Clark Lake in Jackson County, Duck Lake in Calhoun County, Higgins Lake in Roscommon County, Lake Lansing in Ingham County, Nepessing Lake in Lapeer County, Round Lake in Mason County, Sand Lake in Lenawee County, Thompson Lake in Livingston County, and West Twin and East Twin lakes in Montmorency County.
The final tally by EGLE/DEQ found 53 grant applications were submitted via the SIGMA system requesting a total of $44,400. However, the grant acceptance rate was only a small 24.5%. EGLE/DEQ states applicants who were denied grants “included” in their proposals native aquatic plant treatment, or their applications were incomplete. EGLE/DEQ further claimed the law that established Aquatic Invasive Plant Control Grant Program specifies the money be used for invasive plant control.
MLSA is concerned about such a low grant application acceptance rate (24.5%), especially because in the real world, riparians and their lake managers generally apply for one ANC permit each year to control the full spectrum of AIS and nuisance plants. Being required to apply for 2 ANC permits (one for AIS and another for all other plants) is burdensome and incurs extra costs, with many lakes having to double their ANC Permit expenses.
EGLE/DEQ further announced the Aquatic Invasive Plant Control Grant Program will continue in 2020. For more information on the grant program, visit www.Michigan.gov/AIPControlGrant
MLSA will now attempt to work with state officials for the 2020 cycle to increase both the grant application submission rate (only 53 lakes in 2019), as well as the grant acceptance rate (only 24.5% in 2019).