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Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP)

Applications for all USDA-NRCS programs are accepted on a continuous basis with application batching dates set regularly. The application batching date for Fiscal Year 2013 Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) - Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) is April 19, 2013. Batching dates will be posted here when they are established.

The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to help participants develop fish and wildlife habitat on private agricultural land, non-industrial private forest land, and Indian land.

Landowners with eligible agricultural lands including cropland, grassland, pasture, and other land determined by NRCS to be suitable for wildlife habitat development are eligible to apply. Applicants must meet eligibility for Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) certification and be in compliance with the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985 as amended.

WHIP Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW)

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a partnership to use innovative approaches with farmers and forest landowners to restore and protect habitat for specific wildlife species. This effort is called ‘Working Lands for Wildlife’ and it focuses funding and expertise on the protection and improvement of habitat for certain at-risk, threatened or endangered wildlife species, while also benefitting many other species that depend on similar habitat. This innovative approach empowers New York’s farmers to continue working their lands, while furthering conservation of imperiled species, such as the bog turtle, through voluntary measures.

In New York State, ‘Working Lands for Wildlife’ will assist private land owners in the creation and maintenance of habitat necessary to sustain breeding populations of New England Cottontail, Golden-Winged Warbler and Bog Turtle in their current ranges. It focuses on the creation, management and maintenance of appropriate habitat for the selected species. Interested landowners in priority areas designated below are encouraged apply for the program.

  • New England Cottontail: portions of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia and Rensselaer counties.
  • Golden-Winged Warbler: portions of Jefferson, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Essex, Sullivan, Orange, Rockland, Putnam and Westchester counties.
  • Bog Turtle: portions of Wayne, Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oswego, Sullivan, Ulster, Orange, Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia and Rensselaer counties.

Funding is provided to eligible applicants to share the cost of conservation with landowners. There are many conservation practices or actions that can be funded such as: brush management, plantings, fencing, riparian buffers, and wetland enhancements.

How to Apply

Learn what steps you will need to take to prepare for, and submit, your application to become a USDA-NRCS Conservation Program participant.

For additional information contact your local USDA-NRCS office, or visit the NRCS Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program web site.