Environment
12:27 pm
Thu March 31, 2011

Conservationists celebrate more than $100 million in state grants

Governor Rick Snyder signed the bill authorizing more than $102 million in grant money for more than 100 recreation projects and land acquisitions across the state. Michigan Radio’s Lindsey Smith reports one of the largest grants will preserve dune-land along the Lake Michigan shore.

Peter Homeyer is executive director of The Land Conservancy of West Michigan.

“West Michigan and a lot of communities around the state are going to see projects now that are going to add to parkland and improve parks right close to home where folks can get out and enjoy nature with this new bill.

Homeyer’s group is working with the City of Saugatuck to preserve 171-acres of dune-land.

“It’s a fantastic place to go out and reconnect with nature. That’s one of the things that makes Michigan special, are places like this along the Great Lakes.”

 They got $7 million from the bill, one of the biggest chunks of money from the state. The largest, close to $30 million, goes to develop the William Milliken State Park and Harbor project in Detroit.

The Saugatuck Natural Area project is ahead of schedule. That’s because the state fund providing the grants got a huge influx of money last summer. An auction to lease state owned land for oil and gas exploration netted record bonus payments amounting to nearly $180 million.

Homeyer says they still have more than $200,000 left to raise from the public to preserve the dunes.