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Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program

The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land. Through WHIP USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service provides both technical assistance and cost-share assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. WHIP agreements between NRCS and the participant generally last from 5 to 10 years from the date the agreement is signed.

Working Lands for Wildlife

Working Lands for Wildlife is a new partnership between NRCS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to use agency technical expertise combined with $33 million in financial assistance from the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program to combat the decline of seven specific wildlife species whose decline can be reversed and will benefit other species with similar habitat needs.

Through Working Lands for Wildlife landowners can voluntarily participate in an incentive-based efforts to:

  • Restore populations of declining wildlife species;
  • Provide farmers, ranchers, and forest managers with regulatory certainty that conservation investments they make today help sustain their operations over the long term;
  • Strengthen and sustain rural economies by restoring and protecting the productive capacity of working lands.

Golden-Winged Warbler

In Maryland, the Golden-Winged Warbler is one species of concern that can benefit from our efforts to restore its habitat. Funds available through this initiative will assist private land owners create and maintain the habitat necessary to sustain breeding populations of golden-winged warbler within and adjacent to their current range. It focuses on the creation, management and maintenance of early successional habitat in close association with forested landscapes, or adjacent to active agriculture or pastureland. Conservation efforts in support of the golden-winged warbler will benefit several other species that depend on similar habitat.

Efforts will target golden-winged warbler habitat in Allegany, Garret, and parts of Washington County.

Working Lands for Wildlife Golden-Winged Warbler Fact Sheet

Bog Turtle

The bog turtle, America’s smallest turtle, is federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Through Working Lands for Wildlife, Maryland NRCS will assist private landowners combat habitat fragmentation and degradation to restore bog turtle populations and increase landowner confidence that the conservation practices they volunteer to implement will not harm the species or its habitat. Restoration activities will complement the existing NRCS Wetland Reserve Program effort to protect bog turtle habitat.

Efforts will target bog turtle habitat in Balitmore, Carroll, Cecil, and Harford Counties.

Working Lands for Wildlife Bog Turtle Fact Sheet

Archived Program Information

National WHIP program information


NRCS Field Offices, located in the USDA Service Centers in each Maryland county, can provide additional details and program assistance concerning WHIP eligibility requirements, practices, and payments.

Program Contacts

Eric Hines
Farm Bill Program Specialist (AMA, CSP02, CSP08, WHIP)
Phone: 443.482.2913

Steve Strano
State Biologist
Phone: 443.482.2928