[size=+2]DNR Lake Michigan Coastal Program plans for next round of grants[/size] $850,000 to be made available for local projects The DNR’s Lake Michigan Coastal Program is preparing for the 2005 grant cycle. Government agencies, education institutions, and others are invited to apply for funds to finance projects that protect and restore natural, cultural and historical resources in Indiana's Lake Michigan coastal region. The Lake Michigan Coastal Program will make $850,000 available for grants to state and local entities for projects meeting the program criteria. To date, the program has awarded almost two and a half million dollars since its inception in 2002 to 35 projects in Northwest Indiana. Applications for project funding are due to the DNR’s Division of Soil Conservation, Lake Michigan Coastal Program by Jan. 7, 2005. The DNR began accepting applications Monday. The process for 2005 funding cycle is comprised of two components - $800,000 for large scale project grants (maximum award of $100,000 each), and $50,000 for small scale, short-term non-construction grants (maximum award of $5,000 each.) To assist groups interested in applying, three grant workshops about the application process will be held: LaPorte County -- Monday, Nov. 22, at Michigan City Public Library, Michigan City, 10:30am to noon; Porter County -- Wednesday, Dec. 1, at Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, 6100 Southport Rd., Portage, 10:30am to noon; and Lake County -- Thursday, Dec. 9, at Hobart City Council Chambers, 414 Main St., Hobart, 2:30 – 4 p.m. To be eligible, projects must be located entirely in the Lake Michigan coastal area which is comprised of the northern portion of Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties. Large scale projects must be completed within 18 months from date of approval, and small scale projects must be completed in six months. For a map of the grant area, point your Web browser to: www.in.gov/dnr/lakemich/pdf/cpa.pdf The coastal program is looking to build on past experience in 2005. The Coastal Advisory Board recently voted on priorities for 2005: natural area restoration, natural area protection, and natural area management which includes resource management plans and diagnostic studies. Projects that satisfy one of the priorities will receive extra consideration during the proposal review. Current projects include the Marquette Greenway project, Deeprivers Headwaters land acquisition, bio-study of the Paul Zona Wildlife Refuge, Coffee Creek Watershed project, and the Michigan City Hansen Park reconstruction study. A complete list of projects is available at www.in.gov/dnr/lakemich/pdf/projectupdate.pdf For additional information, visit the DNR Web site at www.in.gov/dnr/lakemich/grants/coastalgrants.html.