Michigan House and Senate Appropriation Subcommittees Propose DNR Budget

Budgets for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have been proposed by the Michigan House (HB 5512) and Senate (SB 759) Appropriations Subcommittees for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. 

Funding for the Sportsmen Against Hunger (SAH) program is a high priority for Michigan United Conservation Clubs, but was not in the Governor’s proposed budget. This program funds the processing and distribution of donated deer to Michigan’s food banks to provide venison for those in need.  

The Senate included a significant investment in SAH in its budget proposal. This funding includes a new 2:1 donation match from general fund for the program to leverage the donations through the hunting and fishing license retail system, one-time funding of $550,000 for refrigeration trailers to store processed deer, and $250,000 to test for lead and wildlife disease in donated meat. 

In the House, Rep. Greg Alexander (R-City) moved an amendment to include SAH in the House budget, based on Rep. Cam Cavitt’s (R-City) budget request for the SAH program in February, but the amendment was voted down on a party-line vote. 

Proposed by Governor Whitmer with wide support from the recreation and conservation community, the recreation passport opt-out proposal has been a major focus of the DNR’s budget considerations. The Senate included appropriations for the opt-out program in their budget proposal.  

The House also neglected to include appropriations for the opt-out program in their proposed budget.  

MUCC will continue to support the opt-out policy as a necessary long-term sustainable funding structure for our world class State Parks.   

Both the House and Senate included the following in their proposals: 

  • $1 million in restricted funds (RF) for acquiring and expanding new wetland properties 
  • $890,000 (gross) to compensate for increased costs and mileage rates for the department’s vehicle fleet 
  • $300,000 for state parks repair and maintenance 
  • $177,500 for state boating infrastructure maintenance 

Neither budget proposal included cormorant control funding, which is also a top budget priority for MUCC. 

MUCC will continue monitoring the proposed DNR budgets as they go through the appropriations process.  

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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