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The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land. Through WHIP, NRCS provides both technical and financial assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. WHIP agreements between NRCS and the participant generally last from 5 to 10 years from the date the agreement is signed. A typical contract may consist of such practices as the installation of warm season grasses, forest openings, use exclusion and establishment of grasses and legumes.

WHIP has proven to be a highly effective and widely accepted program in the state. Although woodland wildlife (i.e. ruffed grouse, wild turkey) plans through WHIP are numerous; West Virginia has emphasized development of habitat for farm wildlife (bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbit, songbirds) and riparian areas. WHIP has benefited individual landowners as well as large hunting clubs throughout the state.

FY14 WHIP Initiatives

Working Lands for Wildlife - Golden-Winged Warbler

Working Lands for Wildlife is a new partnership between NRCS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to use agency technical expertise combined with $33 million in financial assistance from the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program to combat the decline of seven specific wildlife species whose decline can be reversed and will benefit other species with similar habitat needs.

Through Working Lands for Wildlife landowners can voluntarily participate in an incentive-based efforts to:

  • Restore populations of declining wildlife species;
  • Provide farmers, ranchers, and forest managers with regulatory certainty that conservation investments they make today help sustain their operations over the long term;
  • Strengthen and sustain rural economies by restoring and protecting the productive capacity of working lands.

In Virginia, the Golden Winged Warbler is our species of concern that can benefit from our efforts to restore its habitat. Funds available through this initiative will assist private land owners create and maintain the habitat necessary to sustain breeding populations of golden-winged warbler within and adjacent to their current range. It focuses on the creation, management and maintenance of early successional habitat in close association with forested landscapes, or adjacent to active agriculture or pastureland. Conservation efforts in support of the golden-winged warbler will benefit several other species that depend on similar habitat.

Goals / Objectives Working Lands for Wildlife will enable private landowners to create and enhance approximately 10,000 acres of early successional forest habitat over five years, precluding the need to federally list the golden-winged warbler.

Core Practices

  • 643 Restoration and Management of Rare and Declining Habitats;
  • 645 Upland Wildlife Habitat Management;
  • 647 Early Successional Habitat Development and Management

Outcomes and Impacts Working Lands for Wildlife will increase improve early successional habitat, decreasing habitat fragmentation and reducing isolation of golden-winged warbler populations. The result will be an expansion of Appalachian breeding habitat and an increase in reproducing golden-winged warbler populations, decreasing the potential for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

When applying for EQIP or WHIP, remember that your name, address, and social security number or Employer Identification Number (EIN) must match the information you have on file with the IRS and FSA, and the information provided on the Direct Deposit Form.  If you cannot recall your EIN and address used, call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-4933.  You should "Request confirmation of Employer Identification Number (EIN), IRS Letter 147C, EIN Previously Assigned.  The IRS can fax the letter to you, but you must remain on the line and have a separate open fax line to receive the fax.  The letter can be mailed. The requester will receive the IRS Letter 147C, in 7 to 10 business days.

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