By Paul J Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director
The Michigan Aquatic Invasive Plant (AIP) Control Grant Program, created through an addition of Part 414 to the NREPA Act (Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act), is ready to launch the 2020 grant cycle. The program, now in its second year, will provide grants to eligible applicants for the control or eradication of aquatic invasive plant species in inland lakes.
The AIP Control grant program will offer grants during the 2020 management season for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) Permit/Annual Fee reimbursement for the chemical, physical, biological, or combination of these methods for aquatic invasive plant control or eradication. Additional eligible expenses are currently being determined by EGLE and might be included.
The 2020 schedule is:
- Request for Proposal (RFP) Announcement: anticipated May 2020
- Application Deadline: July 1, 2020
- Applicant Notification: September 1, 2020
Applicant eligibility for 2020 is the same as it was in 2019. In 2019, 53 lakes submitted applications while only 13 lakes (a mere 24.5%) were awarded grants. Some of the 2019 applicants were denied grants because their 2019 Aquatic Nuisance Control (ANC) permit included non-invasive plant or algae control in addition to invasive species. MLSA remains concerned that the state is not using Part 414 of the NREPA in an enabling manner. Rather, the program is clearly being administered in a restrictive manner in view of the many challenges facing inland lakes. (NOTE: Due to the unprecedented pandemic period of 2020, MLSA was unable to constructively work with state officials and/or legislators to ensure Part 414 would be implemented in an enabling manner, via either administrative or legislative enhancements. This lack of progress is not an excuse, but rather a condition of our current situation). Converting the AIP program to a more inclusive initiative remains a main objective for MLSA.