Letter A - Whip Habitats -- A site receives 15 points for an imperiled habitat only if the project will implement practices specifically for the imperiled habitat in question; in this case, a high ranking (likelihood of success) application will be funded first - regardless of ownership. A site does not receive 15 points simply for having an imperiled habitat on the property. When ranking projects with multiple habitats, the habitats will be ranked as separate projects/sites unless they are adjacent or adjoining and they ecologically functionally related for the habitat objectives.
Letter B -- Listed Species considered Rare, Sensitive, Threatened, Endangered, Candidate or of Special Concern:
The group agreed that in order to take any points for this category, direct or indirect benefits, the listed species must be within the project area. This means that at least some portion of the NDDB designation (i.e. the circle indicating the specie's location) falls over the project area. The project area is the actual site where work will be done, not the entire property of the applicant.
Letter C - Quality of Improved Habitat (native species or ecosystem functions): The basis for this decision is the end result of the work that is done. The quality or state of the habitat at the time of evaluation or the start of the contract is irrelevant. Points awarded for this category are determined solely on the expected condition of the site after implementation of all practices. In effect, any project for which we develop a WHIP conservation plan and the applicant agrees to implement all of the practices should, in theory, result in high quality of improved habitat. An example where high quality might not be achieved is a grassland where the applicant is willing only to broadcast seed by hand and does not want to mow, burn. Or otherwise manage the grasses once established (NOTE: Consult the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) sheets and or the habitat description sheets for a sense of what an "ideal" habitat might look like).
Letter D - Suitability of On-site characteristics and project setting: Remember that a limitation in this category for a project is defined as AND/OR which means that the limitation can be in either site characteristics or setting characteristics and does not have to be in both for a project to receive 5 or 1 point. However, for a project to receive 10 points both site AND setting have to be good.
Letter E - Connectivity of Habitat: The concept of complementary habitat is based on or determined by habitat objectives for the site. For example, in some cases a mature forest next to a grass field is considered complementary (e.g. edge species). If you are establishing a grass field for small mammals and rodents, and there is a wooded area next to the field that is home to raptors that will eat your prized small rodents, the two habitats should not be considered complementary.
Letter H: Average Total Costs/Acres to USDA: The way to calculate the cost of the project for ranking is to divide the TOTAL COST of the contract by the TOTAL PROJECT ACRES. For example, if you have a 10 year contract on an 8 acre parcel and the practices in that contract amount to $6,715, you would divide $6715 by 8. This gives you $839.38/acre for the life of the contract. Consequently, the applicant receives three (3) points.
Letter J - Other Societal Benefits: Benefits such as hunting/Fishing or passive recreation must be open for the public at large and not limited to a private or select group. Private clubs cannot receive points for hunting/fishing or passive recreation if it is only for the club's members. Cultural Resources benefits are given consideration/points if the cultural resources are within the project site (the area where work is being done).