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FY 2007 WHIP Overview


Utah Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) Plan
December 15, 2006

The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program offers cost-share incentives to landowners to voluntarily develop and improve wildlife habitat on private lands. Participants work with NRCS and their local conservation district to develop a wildlife habitat development plan and contract. The plan describes the landowner's goals for improving wildlife habitat, includes a list of practices and a schedule for installing them, and specifies the steps necessary to maintain the new habitat for the life of the agreement.

Key Provisions:
  • Provides up to 75% cost-share assistance for developing habitat for upland wildlife, wetland wildlife, endangered species, fisheries, and other wildlife;
  • Ranks applications using a numerical points system designed to identify and select proposals that offer the greatest benefits to wildlife and related natural resources per program dollar; 
  • Contracts must last a minimum of 5 years from the date of installation of the conservation practice.
  • Participants must own or control the land (there is no minimum acreage);
  • Land may not be currently enrolled in the Waterbank Program, Conservation Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, or other similar program;
  • Lands used for mitigation can be included in WHIP contracts but are ineligible for cost-share funds;
  • All non-federal lands are eligible; however, priority is placed on privately-owned lands.  
National Priorities:
  • Promote the restoration of declining or important native wildlife habitats
  • Protect, restore, develop or enhance wildlife habitat of at-risk species
  • Reduce the impacts of invasive species on wildlife habitats
  • Protect, restore, develop or enhance declining or important aquatic wildlife species’ habitats

Utah objectives: Restore and manage species and habitats of high conservation concern on private lands in cooperation with partners.

Targeted Habitat Types and Species:  NRCS uses the State Wildlife Agency’s Wildlife Action Plan to establish species and habitat priorities to be addressed with Farm Bill program funding.

NRCS Utah will give highest priority for Farm Bill program funding to projects that protect, improve, enhance or maintain the habitat types listed below. However, all projects benefiting any habitat type will continue to be considered for eligible funding opportunities.

  1. Lowland Riparian
  2. Wetland
  3. Mountain Riparian
  4. Shrubsteppe
  5. Flowing Water (Lotic)
  6. Wet Meadow
  7. Grassland

Species listed in all Tiers in Utah’s CWCS that use one of the above as their primary, and in some cases, secondary, habitat type will be considered priority species for Farm Bill program funding. Exceptions include species with such limited habitat requirements or distribution that NRCS programs have little opportunity to affect them and species that are extirpated or experimental in Utah. Other exceptions are species with threats beyond the jurisdiction of NRCS programs, and those that have too little information available on their habitat needs for NRCS programs to address. Priority species may change over time as more information becomes available on species’ status and habitat needs.  Targeted habitat types and associated species are listed in Table 1 on page 11 of the Utah Fish and Wildlife Plan linked below. Note that not all of the species occur in the associated habitat types statewide. Some are limited geographically as well as by habitat type. Targeted species will be used primarily to rank Farm Bill program applications. Tier I species are given highest priority, Tier II species second highest, and Tier III species third priority.

Wildlife habitat improvement practices:  Generally practices will be those that manipulate vegetation and improve water resources. Priority will be given to projects that increase cover of native plants and control invasive plant species. Practices eligible for cost-sharing in FY2007 are linked below.

Partnership involvement:  Number and kind of partners will vary by proposal. Partnerships, including those among landowners, are highly encouraged and those proposals with partnerships will receive a priority in the ranking process.

State application ranking process and criteria:  Criteria have been developed to achieve the objectives and priorities for Utah. Ranking criteria may be viewed at the link below.

Criteria for measuring program success:  Success of the WHIP program in project plans will be measured by a monitoring plan contained in the plan document. Program success on individual plans will be gauged by status reviews. Partners may contribute additional monitoring and evaluation. Higher priority will be given to projects with partner monitoring contributions.

Budget:   Variable by year depending on funding levels. Partners will contribute on a case by case basis, and applications with partnership contributions will receive a higher priority. Cost-share rate under WHIP is 75%.

Utah WHIP Instructions

The priorities and ranking criteria for WHIP have been revised slightly for FY 2007, based on new National guidance for the program.  The Program will continue to emphasize such things as partnerships and species/habitat types of high conservation concern.  The priorities are reflected in the ranking criteria, so projects that address more priorities will rank higher and receive funding.

Applications should be screened using the WHIP Screening Criteria. Applications must be ranked using the WHIP Ranking Tool in ProTracts by December 15, 2007. For more specific information on the requirements of WHIP, refer to the manual by clicking Part 517 Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program.

The document below requires  Adobe Acrobat and  Microsoft Excel.

Utah Fish and Wildlife Plan (PDF, 203 KB)
WHIP Application Form CCC-1200 (PDF, 29 KB)
WHIP Screening Criteria (XLS, 18 KB)
WHIP Ranking Criteria (PDF, 7 KB)
Eligible Practice List (PDF, 18 KB)
Cost List (PDF, 189 KB)

National WHIP Site
If you have questions, please call:

Karen Fullen
WHIP Program Manager