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2011 WHIP archived

2011 Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program

Natural Resources Conservation Service Accepting Applications for 2013 Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program - Deadline June 14, 2013

Overview

The program addresses wildlife habitat in riparian areas, wetlands, uplands and cave ecosystems; and elk and quail habitat. Each area will have specific conservation practices eligible for cost-sharing that benefit certain wildlife species.

Applicants will be ranked according to how the wildlife habitat development plan will effect certain wildlife populations. The plans will be developed by the landowner with assistance from an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologist and NRCS conservationist. The plans will be implemented during a long-term agreement that generally lasts from 5 to 10 years.

A wildlife habitat development plan outlines management practices as well as establishment practices such as planting and seeding. Plans include practices to manage plant succession in fields and forests and may prescribe management techniques such as burning, disking and mowing herbaceous stands.

Plans may also include forest management practices such as forest stand improvement by herbicide treatment and harvesting small groups of trees to create the proper density, composition and age of the stand for different wildlife species. On wetland areas, plans outline dates and rates of water drawdown to encourage different species of annual native plants for waterfowl and shorebirds. The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program is a voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land.

For more information about WHIP and other conservation programs, contact your local USDA Service Center, listed in the telephone book under U.S. Department of Agriculture, or online at http://offices.usda.gov/.

Applying for WHIP

Application may be made throughout the year.  Nov. 30, 2010 was the last day to sign up for consideration in the 2011 program year.  The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) will assist with ranking and will generate a Wildlife Habitat Development Plan as part of the application process.  Applications are ranked within funding categories and are approved based on annual program allocations.

Once the above process is completed, all ranked applications will be entered into ProTracts at the local offices.  The NRCS State Office will then select applications for funding within the various funding categories.  Anyone selected for funding will need to work closely with NRCS and the AGFC to develop a contract within strict time frames that will be provided upon notice of selection.

In Arkansas, six funding categories are available:  cave ecosystems, elk habitat, streambank stabilization, uplands, wetlands and quail habitat.  Each area will have specific conservation practices eligible for cost-sharing that benefit certain wildlife species.  Streambank restoration, upland and wetland funding categories are available to applicants statewide, while the others are only available in specific areas.  Categories are generally funded from the annual state allocation as follows:

  • Cave Ecosystems - 3%

  • Elk Habitat - 5%

  • Quail Habitat - 40%

  • Streambank Restoration - 3%

  • Uplands - 47%

  • Wetlands - 2%

WHIP Application Ranking

Ranking scores are based on condition of existing habitat and wildlife benefits following implementation of the Wildlife Habitat Development Plan.  The assessment and ranking worksheets take into account different land uses such as forest land, cropland, and pasture land.  The highest scores are usually attained by those applicants who are implementing a variety of practices over more than one land use. 

Applicants will be ranked according to how the wildlife habitat development plan will effect certain wildlife populations. The plans will be developed by the landowner with assistance from an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologist and NRCS conservationist. The plans will be implemented during a long-term agreement that generally lasts from five to 10 years from the date the agreement is signed.

Wildlife Habitat Development Plans

A wildlife habitat development plan outlines management practices as well as establishment practices such as planting and seeding (Refer to Practice List). Plans include practices to manage plant succession in fields and forests and may prescribe management techniques such as burning, disking and mowing herbaceous stands.

Plans may also include forest management practices such as forest stand improvement by herbicide treatment and harvesting small groups of trees to create the proper density, species composition and structure of the stand for different wildlife species. On wetland areas, plans outline dates and rates of water drawdown to encourage different species of annual native plants for waterfowl and shorebirds.

Practices are cost-shared by NRCS and the landowner, with NRCS paying either 75% or 50% of the cost, depending on the practice.  Those practices that are most beneficial to the species of concern are generally cost-shared at the higher rate.

Program Benefits

The most import benefits are to the wildlife - the numerous species of birds, mammals, fishes, reptiles, and amphibians - whose food, shelter, and travel areas are being increased substantially and managed more effectively.

Landowners have benefited significantly from education about wildlife and habitat management. Even applicants who do not receive cost-share assistance are implementing Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program plans on their own. The program has also improved relationships between the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, while increasing employee knowledge of sound habitat assessment and wildlife planning procedures.

Practice List and Payment Rates

Additional Information

Last Modified: 05/17/2013