ST. PAUL, Minn. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced it is awarding $4 million in Clean Michigan Initiative grant funds to Pheasants Forever (PF) to support the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The funds will be used to enroll at least 33,000 acres in targeted Michigan watersheds. A formal signing event has tentatively been slated for June 15th.
CREP is a targeted method for retiring a state's most environmentally sensitive farmlands. As a result, CREP acres provide extremely high natural resource benefits; including improvements to water quality, prevention of soil erosion, and the creation of wildlife habitat.
Michigan's CREP began five years ago with a goal of enrolling 80,000 acres. The CREP targets the Saginaw Bay, River Raisin, and Macatawa watersheds, covering 29 counties. The first five years of Michigan's CREP was responsible for 26,000 acres of vegetated filter strips, 11,000 acres of wetland restorations, 8,200 acres of re-vegetated croplands vulnerable to erosion, and 1,200 acres of windbreaks.
"We are thrilled to be awarded this grant," reported Howard Vincent, PF's president and CEO. "There are few conservation tools as valuable as CREP to wildlife, water, and our overall quality of life. In just the five years since this CREP began, we've seen an amazing rebound in pheasant numbers and water quality in the targeted watersheds. We are ready to help put the remaining acres of the state's 80,000-acre goal in the ground."
PF has 40 chapters in Michigan with nearly 10,000 members statewide. Nationally, PF has nearly 600 chapters and 110,000 members. Since the organization's inception in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1982, PF has worked on over 300,000 habitat projects benefiting over 3.4 million acres for wildlife. Nearly 50,000 of those projects have occurred in the Great Lake's state to the benefit of over 315,000 acres.
PF has a long history of working with state CREP programs; including CREPs in Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Material from Pheasants Forever.
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