Mississippi Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)
The Mississippi Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) Plan as approved by National Headquarters and in keeping with the guidelines of the national goals is designed to accomplish the following objectives:
1. To offer the opportunity to participate in the WHIP program to as many landowners as possible.
2. To establish priorities which will add those wildlife management practices which quickly enhance the agricultural and forest landscape and contribute to the state and national goals of WHIP. Priorities will apply statewide.
3. To provide technical assistance to eligible participants with regard to the priority wildlife habitat needs as identified and the development of Wildlife Habitat Development Plans (WHDP) and implementation of authorized practices under WHIP.
4. Provide cost-share payments for the purpose of restoring upland wildlife habitat; wetland wildlife habitat; threatened and endangered species habitat; habitat for declining species of National or State significance; declining native habitats of National or State significance, such as longleaf pine ecosystem; aquatic habitat; and other types of wildlife habitat on eligible land.
5. Foster a positive change in public attitudes toward wildlife, wildlife habitat, and its relationship to the agricultural landscape. This will be accomplished utilizing technical assistance funds through newsletters, outdoor classrooms, workshops, on-sight consultation and plan preparation.
Wildlife priorities were developed by team members with knowledge of state, regional, and national wildlife and fisheries resource concerns. Knowledge of these concerns came via the State Technical Committee process, personal communication with organizations and individuals with interests in wildlife on agricultural and forested landscapes. As a result practices to emphasize community or ecosystem restoration were identified for cost share. The practices were selected for the purpose of restoring upland wildlife habitat; wetland wildlife habitat; threatened and endangered species habitat; habitat for declining species of National or State significance; declining native habitats of National or State significance, such as longleaf pine ecosystem; aquatic habitat; and other types of wildlife habitat on eligible land.
Priority Community/Ecosystem Concerns
A. Lack of desirable early successional components.
1. Lack of transition zones in cropland, pastureland and hayland fields.
2. Lack of quality nesting habitat and rearing areas in old fields, pastureland, hayland, and utility rights-of-ways.
3. Lack of corridor habitat in open areas such as agricultural fields, pastureland, hayland, and old fields.
Species or ecosystems benefited: bobwhite quail, Bachman’s sparrow, cottontail and swamp rabbits eastern wild turkey, grassland guild of birds, Black Belt and Jackson Prairie.
B. Lack of winter water for waterfowl habitat, shallow water areas, and other seasonally flooded wetland areas for wildlife.
Species or ecosystems benefited: Migratory birds, including ducks, geese, shore and wading birds, also turkey, deer, reptiles, amphibians, and wetlands.
C. Lack of early successional wildlife habitat components in the under and midstory of woodlands dominated by pine or pine/hardwood.
Species or ecosystems benefited: Bobwhite quail, cottontail and swamp rabbits, red-cockaded woodpecker, eastern wild turkey, gopher tortoise, several guilds of song birds, and the longleaf pine forest.
D. Lack of educational areas to identify native habitat components.
Solution - Use the practices: Tree/Shrub Establishment (612), Wetland Wildlife Habitat Management (644), Upland Wildlife Habitat Management (645), Wetland Restoration (657), Recreation Area Improvement (562), Recreation Trail and Walkway (568), and/or Spring Development (574).
Species or ecosystems benefited: grassland guild and other edge loving birds, backyard habitats, Black Belt and Jackson prairie, longleaf pine, wetlands, and other native habitats.
E. Lack of habitat components for both Federal and State Listed Threatened and Endangered Species (TES).
Solutions - Benefits to TES and protection of the landowner’s future options for use of the property should be protected through the voluntary agreement with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That agency has an established program called “Safe Harbor”. Points will be given for TES benefits when selected practices are applied within the identified area on the TES maps.
Species or ecosystems benefited: Gopher tortoises are benefited by the practices of hedgerow planting (645), prescribed burning (338), strip disking (645), conversion of fescue and bermuda (645), and early successional vegetation (native grass) establishment (including native legumes) (647). Any bonus points awarded under gopher tortoise criteria will cover any points potentially earned for Mississippi sandhill crane, dusky gopher frog, Eastern indigo snake, southern hognose snake, and black pine snake. The ranges of these species fall within that of the gopher tortoise and beneficial practices for these species are a subset of those for the tortoise.
Red-cockaded woodpeckers are benefited in pine and pine/hardwood forests by prescribed burning (338).
How to apply for WHIP
Greg Brinson, ASTC (Programs)
Phone: 601-965-5196 ext. 2111
Email: Greg Brinson
Clarence Finley, Resource Conservationist
Phone:601-965-4139 ext. 2114
Email: Clarence Finley
Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service for further details.
If you encounter any problems with the files provided on this page, please contact Yolanda Jackson at 601-965-4139 ext. 2166.