Michigan is home to a stunning variety of landscapes: prairies, wetlands, sand dunes, forests, caves, cliffs, river valleys, open plains. Add each ecosystem’s accompanying flora and fauna, and you have Michigan's one-of-a-kind trove of ecological treasures.

Our Conservation Districts (CDs) provide private landowners with a wide range of wildlife information, assistance, and program delivery to address wildlife habitat and species management. Some Districts also provide an Invasive Species Coordinator, who helps educate local communities on how to prevent or manage unwelcome "visitors" looking to take root or roost.

Read below to learn more about some of the programs our Conservation Districts provide. For detailed information on the full range of programs and assistance available through your local District, please contact your CD directly.


Forest, Wetland & Habitat (FWH)

Michigan Conservation Districts' FWH verification process (through our MAEAP program) focuses on practices that promote sustainable forestry, wetlands, and non-forest habitat. These include forest health; protecting air, water, and soil; and restoring habitat.

This MAEAP category was created to help Michigan landowners better understand, plan, manage, protect, and use their natural resources. To do this, each Conservation District provides education and one-on-one expert help to landowners with local habitat issues.


EQIP Wildlife

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides conservation programs to help Michiganders reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damages caused by floods and other natural disasters.

Our Districts facilitate EQIP on the local level, aiding the USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in rolling out financial and technical assistance through this voluntary program. This includes financial assistance through EQIP Wildlife to address wildlife habitat on working lands.

The Wildlife funding pool is available to producers who will restore, develop, or enhance wildlife habitat, including implementing practices to benefit or result in:

  • habitat for fish, aquatic wildlife, pheasant, quail, honey bee populations or other pollinators;
  • threatened and endangered, at-risk, candidate, or species of concern;
  • controlling noxious or invasive plants;
  • improving water quality by decreasing nutrients, sediment, pathogens, or agricultural chemicals delivered to surface waters;
  • excluding livestock from forest land or environmentally sensitive areas;
  • creating young-age forest (Michigan American Woodcock Priority Areas), improving mesic conifers (Upper Peninsula), aspen, birch, and jack pine regeneration;
  • improved grasslands (prescribed burning, weed control, brush management, autumn olive management);
  • retaining wildlife and plant habitat on land exiting the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP); and/or
  • conservation cover, windbreaks / shelterbelts, riparian herbaceous cover, riparian forest buffers, filter strips, tree and shrub establishment, and forest stand improvement.


Critical Dunes

With over 70,000 acres of Critical Dunes along our lakeshore, the idea that one individual's actions could determine the future quality of the landscape is almost unimaginable. Yet it is individual land management that will truly determine the protection of our rare and ecologically fragile coastal dunes.

Which is why building construction and vegetation removal in Michigan’s Critical Dunes is regulated by the Sand Dune Protection Management Act. We work with landowners to help nurture and protect our spectacular dune ecosystems, and coordinate our efforts in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) for maximum efficacy.

Learn more about Michigan’s Critical Dunes, the Sand Dune Protection and Management Act, where critical dune areas are located, and which specific activities are regulated by contacting your local Conservation District today.


Forestry Assistance Program (FAP

Michigan Conservation Districts provide education and one-on-one technical help with local forest health issues for private landowners and communities. Our professional foresters work out of 19 District offices, providing coverage for 46 counties in upper and lower Michigan.

Local Conservations Districts provide assistance to help their area's citizens better understand, plan, manage, protect and utilize their forest resources. The program is made available through grants from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

Note that the FAP strives to not compete with private sector business. Our foresters do not write management plans, administer timber sales, or provide any other service that could otherwise be provided by the private sector.

Click here for a current map of Conservation Districts with Forestry Assistance Foresters, and the counties currently covered through this program.

Michigan Pheasants ForeverMichigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative (MPRI)

Our Conservation Districts proudly partner with Pheasants Forever, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, MDNR, MDARD, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and other conservation organizations on the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative (MPRI).

This initiative is helping revitalize Michigan’s pheasant population, as well as the grasslands that support many other species in our state.

The program currently focuses efforts in the following three zones:

  • Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties
  • Gratiot, Saginaw, and Clinton counties
  • Hillsdale, Lenawee, and Monroe counties

Conservation Districts within these pilot zones have a technician working with eligible farmers and landowners to provide guidance and assistance on habitat prescriptions for pheasants.

To be eligible, landowners must work together to devote large blocks of land that can serve as a patchwork of private properties set aside for habitat.

This is a cooperative initiative that requires a group of property owners to voluntarily agree to work together in "Neighborhood Cooperatives" to implement habitat projects.

Technicians will also assist cooperatives in identifying federal, state, and private assistance for funding or implementing habitat projects, including funding for landowners through conservation cost-share programs to install these habitat restoration practices.

Chapters of Pheasants Forever will also provide free seed to landowners. In some cases, the MDNR will also donate the use of farm implements and planting equipment, and release live pheasant.

Landowners outside of the three pilot zones are also encouraged to form local Neighborhood Cooperatives, with their local CD and Pheasants Forever Chapter available for program guidance.