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Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)

 

With the enactment of the Agricultural Act (February 7, 2014) funding provided for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) in FY-2014 is no longer available for obligations. WHIP is not reauthorized.

NRCS will honor and continue to support fiscal year 2014 WHIP program contracts using the rules and policy that was in effect at the time of contract obligations.

Portions of the WHIP Statute were rolled into the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Anyone still interested in applying for wildlife projects in programs should go to the EQIP web page.

 

 

 

What is the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program?

Streambank Restoration, Germany Valley, Dane County WI

Streambank restoration project through WHIP in German Valley, Dane County, Wisconsin

WHIP National Manual

The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for people who want to develop or improve wildlife habitat on private lands. The WHIP Program offers technical and financial assistance to help protect, restore, develop and enhance fish and wildlife habitat.

How WHIP Works

Landowners agree to prepare and implement a wildlife habitat development plan. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical resources to applicants to help plan eligible practices which benefit wildlife habitat. .

How to Apply -

Landowners may apply by contacting the NRCS office in the county in which the land is located. 
 

The Plan

Participants work with NRCS to prepare a WHIP plan of operations, which describes the landowner’s goals for improving wildlife habitat, includes a list of practices and a schedule for installing them, and details the steps necessary to maintain the habitat for the life of the cost-share agreement.

WHIP Financial Assistance

WHIP payments help successful applicants with the practice implementation costs.  The agreement  lasts one year past the last scheduled practice and may be as long as 10 years. Under the agreement, the landowner agrees to implement and maintain the contracted practices and allow NRCS access to monitor the effectiveness of the practices. Payments are limited to $50,000 per fiscal year.

What’s Eligible?

Private agricultural and non-industrical private forestland currently in production, or capable of production, may be eligible.  To participate in WHIP, you must own or have control of the land under consideration.

What Land is Not Eligible?

Publicly owned land is not eligible.  Land currently enrolled in the Water Bank Program, Conservation Reserve Program, or Wetlands Reserve Program is not eligible. Land enrolled in the Emergency Watershed Program or Grassland Reserve Program may not be eligible; check with the local NRCS office for details.   Land is also ineligible  if USDA determines that onsite or offsite conditions would undermine or reduce the benefits of habitat development.

Wisconsin Priorities

WHIP proposals will be evaluated based on Wisconsin wildlife habitat priorities. Applications are scored on a number of factors, including type of habitat to be established, location within designated priority area if applicable, practice lifespan, benefit to at-risk species, and cost.  Application and scoring worksheets are completed at the field office to prioritize projects.                   

Some of the opportunities

  • Install in-stream structures to provide fish habitat
  • Restore prairie and oak savannahs
  • Brush management and control of invasive species

For More Information

For more information about WHIP contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office for program information and announcements.