Waterways Program Grants

  • DNR Waterways Program Grants provide funding for engineering studies and infrastructure improvements. Michigan grant-in-aid harbors and public boating access sites managed by local units of government (city, village, township and county) and state colleges and universities are eligible to apply. 

    FY2021 grant funding

    For FY2021, the Michigan Legislature appropriated approximately $3.47 million for Waterways Program Grants. 

    • Grant funding requires a 50% match of the estimated project cost.
    • Grant requests that include more than a 50% applicant fund match will be given additional preference.
    • An applicant fund match can include well-documented in-kind expenses.
    • Applicants not able to provide the 50% match, but can demonstrate a "qualified need" can still apply. 
    • For additional information on a "qualified need," please contact Paul Petersen, DNR Parks and Recreation waterways grant program manager, at 517-284-6122.

    Harbor project criteria

    Applicants submitting a Waterways Grant Program Application and select "Harbor" (not boating access sites) as the project type, must submit:

    • An approved Harbor/Marina Facilities 5-Year Recreation Plan (or amendment to the existing 5-year plan) through Grants Management that includes:
      • A description of recreational plan elements such as facility size, marketing/events/partnering plans, dredging needs, dredging cycles (how often), dredge volume and dredge disposal location.
      • A brief description of infrastructure replacement schedules, annual maintenance schedules and replacement or habilitation schedules of large investments like docks, buildings, etc. 
    • Last three years of harbor traffic (harbor logs).
    • Last three years of financial summaries for the harbor.


    Eligible applicants include local units of government (city, village, township and county) and state colleges and universities. Local units and universities may cooperate with sports/community organizations in the implementation of projects. 

    Large projects require a completed preliminary engineering study and permit approval prior to grant consideration.

    Application process

    • Submit application form.
    • DNR staff conducts a technical review.
    • Grants are awarded based on department review, prioritization and funding appropriation.


    Applications must be received by April 1 at 5 p.m.


    For more information, contact Paul Petersen, DNR Parks and Recreation waterways grant program manager, at 517-284-6122 or PetersenP@michigan.gov.