FY23 Budget Headed to the Governor's Desk, Including $3 Million for Michigan's Conservation Districts

FY 2023 Budget Headed to the Governor's Desk, Including $3 Million for Michigan's Conservation Districts

At 2:12am on Friday, July 1st, prior to the Michigan Legislative Summer break, the Michigan House of Representatives passed the FY23 Budget Bill, which included a renewal of $3 Million in Operational Funding for Michigan's Conservation Districts. The bill is on the way to the Governor's Desk to be signed and approved accordingly. These dollars will be delivered once again via the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development "Conservation Districts Operations Grant". 

Today, the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts issued a statement on the passage of HB 5783:

"We are incredibly grateful for the many Senators and Representatives in the Michigan Legislature who once again supported operational funding for all 75 of Michigan's Conservation Districts," stated Dan Moilanen, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts. 

He continued, "As many know, Conservation Districts (CDs) are the local units of government charged with managing local natural resources and delivering conservation practices on both private and public land. Michigan's CDs are the most effective and tested service delivery platform for conservation, and it's clear that the Michigan Legislature sees value in the work our members are doing around the state."

Moilanen expressed, "With this appropriation, many Conservation Districts are able to keep their lights on to continue implementing several popular State programs like the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), Forestry Stewardship Program (FAP); and Federal Farm Bill Programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP); as well as other Federal Agency programs like Environmental Protection Agency 319 Non-Point Source Pollution Grants; all of which bring in millions of dollars into Michigan's local economies. Without stable and consistently funded Conservation Districts, these critical programs and dollars would certainly go to other states. Michigan would certainly lose out on critical and necessary conservation programming."

He stated, "Over 72% of all land in Michigan is privately owned. Given that our work is voluntary, non-regulatory, and built on a foundation of trust, Michigan's Conservation Districts remain the best delivery system for conservation on both privately and publicly owned land."

Moilanen concluded, "The work we do as Conservation Districts is inherently bipartisan, and it's incredibly reassuring to see that Michigan's Legislators agree. When Michigan's Conservation Districts thrive, our communities thrive. We all need clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and recreate in, and healthy soils in which we grow the food we eat and the fibers we use for textiles and other materials. Conservation Districts benefit everyone."

The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts specifically wishes to thank Senator Roger Victory (SD-30 - Hudsonville) and Representative Rachel Hood (HD 76 - Grand Rapids) for their continued bipartisan support of Michigan's Conservation Districts.

We also thank all of our members who participated in this year's Capitol Day, hosted legislative tours, or reached out to their legislators to advocate for this appropriation. We would not be successful without your help! Congratulations all, on another year of state funding!

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