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Apply now for grants to improve fish and wildlife habitat

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Organizations and governments now can apply for fish and wildlife habitat improvement grants. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) grant applications for projects ranging from $5,000 to $400,000.

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Funds must be used to enhance, restore or protect the forests, wetlands, prairies and habitat for fish, game or wildlife in Minnesota. A total of $3.48 million is available. The application deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 8.

"Grant funds can make a good idea a reality," said Jamie Gangaware, conservation program grants specialist. "They are a way to leave a legacy in your local community."

Gangaware said the online application system and the process underwent a major overhaul in August. The improvements make it easier for groups to complete an application. There is also a new streamlined application for grant requests less than $25,000.

Brad Nylin, executive director of the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, is among those who have used the new application process. "As a person who has applied for CPL Grants in previous rounds, I am very pleased with this most recent application process," said Nylin. "It's noticeably simpler and quicker to complete."

The Feb. 8 deadline gives applicants eight weeks to complete an application. Applications can be started and saved at any point, allowing the opportunity to work on it at any time from any computer.

The request for proposals is available on the CPL grants web page at www.mndnr.gov/habitat/cpl. Follow the FY2012 Grant Information link on the left-hand side. This document explains the program, including requirements and eligibility. More information is available by calling 651-259-5174 or by sending an email to LSCPLgrants.DNR@state.mn.us.

Awards for this second round of grants are expected to be announced in early April.

The CPL program is an outgrowth of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, which recommended its creation to the Minnesota Legislature. Grant funds are provided annually from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which is a portion of the revenue generated by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Constitutional Amendment sales tax. The program, now in its fourth funding cycle, has awarded more than 100 grants totaling $9.7 million.

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