Missouri Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)
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The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for people who want to develop or improve wildlife habitat on private lands. It provides both technical and financial assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat.
How WHIP Works
Landowners agree to prepare and implement a Wildlife Habitat Development Plan (WHDP) which focuses on conservation practices that directly benefit wildlife on any habitat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial assistance to assist interested participants to implement the WHDP-referenced restoration practices.
Each state develops a program implementation plan including state objectives, wildlife priorities, partnership involvement, an explanation of the ranking process and criteria, and a process for measuring success of the program. In general, the priorities for WHIP in Missouri are those habitats which are most important for species that have had significant declines or are of state or national importance.
Financial Assistance and Cost Share
NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to establish, maintain, or replace wildlife habitat practices. Financial assistance payments will reimburse the WHIP contract participant(s) some of their cost to install the practices contained in a WHIP contract. Federal or State wildlife agencies or private organizations may provide additional funding or expertise to help complete a project. Generally the total financial assistance cannot exceed $150,000 per contract. The WHIP contract agreement normally lasts from one year after the conservation practice is implemented, to not more than 10 years from the date the contract is signed by NRCS. Under the WHIP contract agreement, the WHIP contract participant agrees to maintain the installed practices for the life of the practice and will allow NRCS access to monitor the effectiveness of the installed practices.
Land eligible for WHIP includes:
Private agricultural land - cropland, grassland, pasture and other land determined by NRCS to be suitable for fish and wildlife habitat development, on which agricultural and forest-related products or livestock are, or have the potential, to be produced. Agricultural lands may also include cropped woodland, marshes, incidental area included in the agricultural operation, and other types of land used for production of livestock.
Non-industrial private forest land - rural land that has existing tree cover, or is suitable for growing trees, and is owned by any nonindustrial private individual, group, association, corporation, or other private legal entity that has definitive decision-making authority over the land.
What Land is Not Eligible?
Land ineligible for WHIP includes:
Land currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, Grassland Reserve Program, or other similar program
Land used for mitigation
Land where onsite or offsite conditions would undermine or reduce the benefits of habitat development, as determined by NRCS
Publically owned land (land owned by Federal, State, county, or local governments)
How To Apply for WHIP in Fiscal Year 2013
WHIP applications are accepted year round. Interested parties may apply for WHIP at their local NRCS office in USDA Service Centers. Your local USDA Service Center agencies are also listed in the telephone book under United States Government, Department of Agriculture.
FY2013 WHIP Application Fund Pools
At the beginning of Fiscal Year 2013 (10/1/2012 thru 9/30/2013), Missouri NRCS only received an allocation for two Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI) projects, as approved in 2010. Applicants with property located in the Livingston and Carroll Lower Grand Watershed MRBI Project or the Linn and Sullivan Locust Creek MRBI Project, who submitted an FY13 WHIP application to NRCS through close of business February 15, 2013, were considered for FY13 WHIP-MRBI funding during this first FY13 WHIP MRBI evaluation period.
Recently, Missouri NRCS received an allocation of $300,000 from our National Office, to be used for non-MRBI FY13 WHIP contracts. Due to the limited amount of non-MRBI FY13 WHIP funding, FY13 WHIP for non-MRBI will target specific practices and areas. This will allow NRCS and our conservation partners to work with eligible participants, to focus funds and efforts to establish and improve quail habitat in selected areas.
To apply for FY13 WHIP non-MRBI funds, applicants must first submit a recently-signed Conservation Program Application, to their local NRCS office by close-of-business July 12, 2013. Eligible applications received after July 12, 2013, will be placed in the FY13 WHIP Second Evaluation fund pool, for potential contracts if Missouri NRCS receives additional FY13 WHIP funds (or if all WHIP funds are not fully obligated).
A certified planner will assist eligible applicants in the development of a WHIP Wildlife Habitat Development Plan (WHDP). This WHDP will be the basis used by NRCS to complete the appropriate FY13 WHIP ranking for eligible applicants. Applications that provide the most wildlife habitat benefit are the most competitive for WHIP funding.
For More Information
For more information about WHIP, contact your local USDA Service Center for program information and announcements or visit the NRCS at the link below.
For national program information, fact sheets and other information, please click here.
Missouri WHIP Contact Information
R. Darlene Johnson
USDA NRCS State Office
601 Business Loop, 70 West Suite 250
Columbia, MO 65203