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Habitat Protection and Restoration

The Habitat grant program provides funding to preserve essential habitat; protect, restore, and stabilize important fish habitats; and increase habitat availability. The GLFT pursues these efforts through investments in specific places with a degraded or vulnerable habitat, connectivity enhancements, and use of decision-support tools that suggest optimal strategies for investing in habitat. The RFP is planned for release annually in the winter.

The GLFT prioritizes its investments in capital projects such as fish passage, dam removal, and land acquisition to projects where the habitat opportunity is prime, other funders are contributing, long-term management is assured, and the proposed project has the strongest community support and interest.

Applicant Eligibility

Organizations eligible to apply for GLFT grants include nonprofit organizations, educational, and governmental (including tribal) organizations.

Project Eligibility

Initial project eligibility requirements include:

  • The primary purpose of the project must be to protect or restore habitat for Great Lakes fish.
  • Projects must be located in the Lake Michigan basin or within the state of Michigan. Projects in the Lake Michigan basin but outside of the state of Michigan (e.g., Indiana, Illinois, or Wisconsin) must be regionally significant for funding consideration.

Additional project-specific considerations, priorities, and requirements are provided in the Policies and How to Apply sections below. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact GLFT staff prior to submission of a grant proposal to discuss project eligibility, goals, and alignment with GLFT priorities. Staff are available to assist applicants with navigating the online grant proposal submission process.

Funding Priorities

The Trust’s priorities for the Habitat Protection and Restoration grant category are:

  1. Projects that offer an increase in long-term, sustainable, natural reproduction for species now supported by hatchery production—project benefits should be targeted toward salmonids and nonsalmonid predator game species.
  2. Projects that offer secondary benefits—for example, improved sea lamprey management or protection of state-listed threatened or endangered species—may be supported at a greater funding level.
  3. Applicants that use the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Framework (GLAHF), the Great Lakes Fishery Commission Barrier Removal Collaboration Suite, Fishwerks, existing field inventories, or similar tools to identify appropriate projects or as part of their proposed scopes of work.

Grant Calendar

Feb 25, 2022
Proposal Deadline

Apr 12, 2022
SAT Review

May 10, 2022
Board Review


Please review the GLFT Policy on Habitat and Restoration Grant Proposals before submitting an application under the Habitat grant program. The GLFT Board of Trustees has also established a number of additional policies regarding grants that may be applicable to applications submitted under the Habitat grant opportunity:

To review all of the grant-related policies for our multiple grant programs, please visit our Resources page.

Additional Documents

For additional information related to habitat decision support tools, please review Developing Decision-support Tools to Enhance Aquatic Connectivity in the Great Lakes Basin (2014).

How to Apply

The Habitat grant program RFP is released annually. Please review our Active Grant Opportunities to see which of our grant programs are currently accepting applications. The forms and instructions necessary to guide you through the application process are provided in the 2022 Habitat Protection and Restoration Guidance Document. If the Habitat program is not currently accepting proposals, the guidance document provides information on general program requirements for the next grant cycle.

Browse Our Active Grant Opportunities

Frequently Asked Questions

Staff are currently developing the frequently asked questions sections for each of the grant programs. Questions will be available for applicant review prior to the release of the requests for proposals.