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WHIP Under Utilized in Western Kansas

WHIP Under Utilized in Western Kansas

by Joel A. Willhoft, Area Resource Conservationist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Hays, Kansas

The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) has been around for more than 10 years yet continues to be an under-utilized program in Western Kansas. In the past few years, all eligible applications in the western third of the state have been approved for funding.

WHIP is a voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land. Through WHIP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides both technical assistance and up to 75 percent financial assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat.

WHIP agreements between the NRCS and the participant generally last up to five years from the date the agreement is signed but can be shorter. Frequently used practices in WHIP agreements include grass plantings, tree and shrub plantings, windbreaks, riparian improvement practices, wetland improvement practices, grazing land improvement practices, invasive tree removal practices, and others.

Kansas NRCS and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have formed a partnership for the development and implementation of WHIP agreements. A contact with either the NRCS or the KDWP will result in an on-site visit with you to formulate alternatives for wildlife habitat development and/or improvement on your land that are in tune with NRCS standards and specifications but also in accordance with your objectives.

Eligible participants can sign-up for 2010 WHIP at anytime during the year. Although applications are accepted on a continuing basis, all applications received by a cut-off date to be announced sometime this winter, will be gathered and ranked for funding. Applications received after the ranking cut-off date will be considered in a subsequent ranking cut-off period later in the year or next year.

Now is the time to request assistance for timely implementation of practices once spring arrives. Contact your local NRCS district conservationist or KDWP wildlife biologist whether you intend to apply for WHIP or would simply like technical assistance in developing wildlife-friendly conservation plans for your property.

For more information about NRCS programs, visit the Kansas NRCS Web site at

This article is also available in Microsoft Word format.

WHIP Under Utilized in Western Kansas (DOC; 54 KB)