Michigan DNR Receives Unprecedented General Fund Appropriations

Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the general government appropriation legislation for fiscal year 2023 (FY23) beginning October 1, 2022.

The appropriation provides unprecedented levels of general fund investment for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

MUCC views much of this money as transformational for the department, particularly for fisheries division, said Michigan United Conservation Clubs executive director Amy Trotter in February. 

“It is unprecedented to get this level of general fund support for fisheries division priorities,” Trotter said, “With this money the next generation of biologists will not constantly be fighting decaying infrastructure and equipment.”

House Bill 5783 is the general appropriations package for fiscal year 2023, including the DNR budget. Legislators funded many of the Governor’s proposals, including:

  • Fish Hatchery Infrastructure Improvements: $30.0 million one-time investment from General Fund to address deferred infrastructure needs, improve energy efficiency, and enhance biosecurity at the state fish hatcheries, including construction of a new coolwater fish production facility at the Wolf Lake hatchery. 
  • Natural Resources Equipment Modernization: $11.6 million one-time investment ($10 million from General Fund and $1.6 million from state restricted funds) to provide modern, safe, and efficient natural resource equipment necessary for the department’s core work. 
  • Great Lakes Vessel Modernization: $4 million one-time investment from General Fund to replace the 54-year-old Survey Vessel Steelhead with a modern vessel of similar size to better support the collection of fisheries assessment data from Lake Michigan.
  • Tribal Relations and Fisheries Co-Management: $652,800 increase from General Fund to support more biologists and technicians within the Tribal Coordination Unit to work with tribal governments on fisheries projects and facilitate decisions for co-managed fisheries. 
  • Chronic Wasting Disease Testing: $500,000 one-time investment from General Fund for the DNR to provide a check station or drop box in certain areas before the 2023 deer hunting season.
  • Spending Authorization with Available Revenue from Pheasant License Fees: $100,000 from available restricted funds to purchase and release pheasants on state-owned land. 

A summary of the DNR budget by the House Fiscal Agency can be found here

To ensure our natural resources remain protected and managed thoughtfully in perpetuity, join Michigan United Conservation Clubs today: http://bit.ly/JoinMUCC

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