Partners for Fish & Wildlife

Partners logo 512

Stewardship.  Partnership.  Fish and wildlife. Future generations.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife (Partners) Program embraces each of these themes.  It’s about working together in a voluntary pro-active manner with private landowners to restore and enhance fish and wildlife habitat. It’s about sharing resources of time, energy, and funds to help ensure that elements of our common heritage -- wildlife, fish, and a healthy ecosystem -- will be there for our kids, and their kids. 

It’s also about ensuring the health and safety of the American people.  Our projects provide additional benefits that improve water quality, recharge groundwater, mitigate floods, provide recreation, improve personal health and more.

  • Wetland Restoration


    Wetland restorations are generally focused where previous agricultural drainage provides an opportunity to restore hydrology, or put the “wet” back into altered wetlands.  Projects often involve breaking or plugging a portion of a tile line, blocking a ditch, or building a low berm or embankment.  Restorations are designed to re-establish shallow-water wetlands (depth of 5 feet or less) containing a mixture of open water and vegetated areas.  The program does not create farm ponds and does not alter existing natural, undisturbed wetlands.


  • Grassland Projects


    Grassland habitat provides a buffer around wetland areas and nesting cover for some waterfowl and a number of declining grassland birds such as bobolinks and meadowlarks.  The Partners Program is working with others in Michigan’s agricultural counties to promote the establishment of mixed stands of warm-season grasses and native wild flowers.  Partners can help both with site preparation and seeding of these prairies.  Grasslands 20 to 40 acres in size, and larger, help provide adequate cover and food throughout the year for a variety of migratory birds, pheasants, and other wildlife. 


  • Stream Improvements


    Efforts are underway to improve stream structure, stabilize stream banks, and improve road crossings in priority watersheds in the Saginaw Bay.  These projects typically support brook trout populations or take place on streams that impact federal lands.  

  • Invasive Species Control


    Invasive species have been identified by many organizations as one of the top three threats to our natural resources.  Invasive species control can take place in coordination with the previously listed restoration types or as a stand-alone project.  Projects adjacent to protected lands, previously treated areas, and critical habitats are a priority.

  • Michigan Partners Contact Map

    PFW Map

    Visit our contact map to view contact information for your area.  Download Partners for Fish & Wildlife Contact Information Map  (JPG - 1,820 KB). 

  • Progress

    Since this program began in Michigan in 1988, more than 2,750 projects have been completed, totaling approximately 30,000 acres.  Additional projects are also considered for Threatened and Endangered Species, and early successional forestry on a case by case basis. See the Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program Midwest Region Strategic Work Plan 2017-2021 (PDF - 9.72MB).

    Projects are funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with cost-share assistance provided by Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, other conservation organizations, government agencies, landowners and grants.  In addition to regular Service funds, Partners Program biologists may compete for supplemental grants that are typically used for larger projects with many partners and matching partner funds.

    View our Saginaw Bay Lake Plain and Headwaters Focus Area (PDF - 1.12MB).   Also, learn about  the program's contributions to phragmites control here in the Saginaw Bay Watershed (PDF - 257KB).

    Many landowners contribute funds for permits or construction and in-kind services such as labor to prepare seed beds and seed disturbed areas.  Landowners are required to sign an agreement to leave the project in place on their property a minimum of 10 years.  Longer agreements are encouraged.  Landowners are responsible for project maintenance. Learn more about Michigan Projects (by Shiawassee NWR Private Lands Biologist) by viewing the 2015 Annual Report (PDF - 535KB). Or read about more recent successes by viewing the Story Map for 2017

    Are you or someone you know interested in improving wildlife habitat on your property? If so, see this flyer (PDF - 2.27MB).

    For additional information, please go to:

  • Au Gres-Sim Partnership

    Partners for Fish & Wildlife has developed a strong relationship with Au Gres-Sims School District. The pair, along with other partners are conducting longitudinal STEM research studies. These experimentally designed learning projects focus on invasive species and greenhouse propagation of the threatened and federally protected Pitcher’s Thistle plant on Big Charity Island. Big Charity Island, located within the school district’s boundaries, is part of the Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

    The project was recently awarded grants:

    Lowe's 2017 Grant (PDF -242KB)

    Captain Planet Grant (PDF - 317KB)

    WIN Community Action Mini Grant
     (PDF - 310KB)

  • Contact Information

    Michelle Vander Haar
    989-777-5930 ext. 102
    Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge
    6975 Mower Road
    Saginaw, Michigan 48601-9783