Funding available for local conservation projects

HOUGHTON — The U.P. Environmental Coalition is seeking applications for this year’s round of Community Conservation grants.

Applications must be submitted by March 10 for the grants, which are designed to allow U.P. communities to to increase their conservation values in their watershed or area. Each grant is for up to $10,000.

The grants are intended to help communities step up in a broader way to enhance the protection and conservation values in their watershed or area.

“These things are only going to be lasting if they have broad community support,” said UPEC treasurer Jon Saari. “Most yoopers embody some sort of conservation ethic. You just have to scratch it, and you’ll find one.”

Last year, UPEC gave out three grants to seven applications, including one to the Keweenaw Land Trust toward protecting coastal wetlands on the Abbaye Peninsula.

Funding comes from a bequest from late UPEC member Tom Church, as well as through private donations from board and community members.

When evaluating the proposals, UPEC looks at the broadness of community support and how much the proposal will improve land protection in the community.

“We look at various things — how complete and comprehensive it is, and whether long-term it’s going to improve the usefulness of that land in that community,” he said. “We’re trying to encourage long-term thinking, broad thinking, inclusive thinking, inside a community about conservation far into the future, of lands and waters.”

Grants are evaluated by committees, then looked at by the UPEC board. This year’s recipients will be announced March 25 in Marquette.

Applications can be emailed to They can also be sent by mail to UPEC, Box 673, Houghton, MI 49931

For more information, go to