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Maine Bulletin No. ME 300-11-3

 

                                                                                                            January 20, 2011
 

Subject: LTP - WHIP Forestry Initiative Guidance

Purpose. To announce the conservation practices included in the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) Forestry Initiative contracts.

Expiration Date. September 30, 2011

Guidance received from the National Program Leaders concerning the WHIP Forestry Initiative indicates that we are to establish a set of "Core" Conservation Practices and "Supporting" Conservation Practices. All WHIP forestry contracts must include at least one "Core" conservation practice and whichever "Supporting" conservation practices that are appropriate to address the identified resource concerns. The following are the specific practices:

"Core" Conservation Practices
Early Successional Habitat Management (Code 647)
Fish Passage (Code 396)
Forest Stand Improvement (Code 666)
Upland Wildlife Habitat Management (Code 645)
Wetland Wildlife Habitat Management (Code 644)

"Supporting" Conservation Practices
Access Control (Code 472)        
Access Road (Code 560)                            
Conservation Cover (Code 327)                    
Critical Area Planting (Code 342)
Forest Trails and Landings (Code 655)
Lined Waterway or Outlet (Code 468)
Brush Management (Code 314)
Herbaceous Weed Control (Code 315)
Riparian Forest Buffer (Code 391)
Stream Crossing (Code 578)
Structure for Water Control (Code 587)
Tree/Shrub Establishment (Code 612)
Tree/Shrub Pruning (Code 660)
Tree/Shrub Site Preparation (Code 490)
Wetland Enhancement (Code 659)
Wetland Restoration (Code 657)

Use of Access Road Conservation Practice (Code 560)
Consistent with guidelines provided for the 2010 WHIP Forestry Initiative, use of the Access Road Conservation Practice is limited in the following ways:

  • There are no new Access Road Conservation Practices eligible for cost share under the 2011 WHIP Forestry Initiative. This conservation practice can be included in a contract where an existing road is in need of repair to address a resource concern.
  • For every two dollars to be contracted for the Access Road Conservation Practice, at least one dollar will be included in the contract for forestry and wildlife practices. These are included in either "Core" or "Supporting" conservation practices.

Essential Plant and Animal Habitat Conservation Practices (EPAH)

Each conservation practice and scenario in the practice payment schedule for this initiative includes a component for addressing EPAH. The following excerpts from Maine's NRCS Action Plan to Conserve Identified Priority Fish and Wildlife Species and Habitat in Maine describe where these payment rates should be used.

Atlantic Salmon & Eastern Brook Trout

Atlantic salmon and eastern brook trout habitat enhancement have received special emphasis under WHIP. Atlantic salmon and eastern brook trout conservation was designated by the NRCS State Conservationist in consultation with the State Technical Committee as "Essential Habitat", and is defined in the Conservation Programs Manual - Part 517 - WHIP.

Essential habitat for salmon has been designated as any salmon waters within the Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment (GOMDPS) of Atlantic salmon. The Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) - 10 watersheds outside the GOMDPS considered high priority for conservation of eastern brook trout have been mapped by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Those watersheds are where the essential habitat designation for eastern brook trout applies.

New England Cottontail (NEC)

New England Cottontail habitat enhancement has received special emphasis under NRCS WHIP. Habitat beneficial for NEC conservation was designated by the NRCS State Conservationist in consultation with the State Technical Committee as "Essential Habitat" and defined in the Conservation Programs Manual - Part 517 - WHIP.

York and Cumberland are the only counties where the NEC essential habitat designation applies.

Contracting for Essential Plant and Animal Habitat Conservation Practices

Only the practices that directly enhance the habitat for these species may be contracted using the EPAH scenarios at ninety percent. Practices that do not directly enhance habitat for these species will be cost-shared at standard rates established for the WHIP Forestry Initiative. Any contract that contains these EPAH practices must have a contract period of 15 years. In order to do this, the "Application Type" in ProTracts must be set to "Essential". Program applicants desiring contracts for less than 15 years are eligible for regular practice payment rates with an application type of "Conventional".

Contact. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Bill Yamartino, ASTC for Programs at 207-990-9553 or email bill.yamartino@me.usda.gov.


/s/  Juan C. Hernandez
 

JUAN C. HERNANDEZ
State Conservationist