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Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program - NRCS

FarmBillWebpageMockup_VPAHIP

The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) provides State and tribal governments with funding or incentives to expand or improve habitat in existing public access programs.

Benefits

State and tribal governments may submit proposals for VPA-HIP block grants from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). State agencies and tribes then provide funding to participating private landowners through new or expanded public access programs that enhance public access to private lands for wildlife-dependent recreation.  VPA-HIP funding can also be used to improve publicly accessible wildlife habitat on private lands.

Nothing in VPA-HIP preempts liability laws that may apply to activities on any property related to grants made in this program.

Who Is Eligible

Only state  and tribal governments are eligible to apply for VPA-HIP grants.  Private forest, farm, or ranch lands are eligible for assistance under these state grants.

Allowable grant amounts are reduced by 25 percent if the opening dates for migratory bird hunting are not consistent for residents and non-residents.  This requirement does not apply to tribal governments.

How to Apply

The 2018 Farm Bill authorizes $50 million for VPA-HIP.  NRCS is developing the new program and will publish a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NFO) to the Federal Government’s grants portal (www.grants.gov.) when ready.  The NFO will detail the program purpose and priorities, eligibility criteria, and the application forms and instructions needed to apply for VPA-HIP

More Information

Inquiries about VPA-HIP can be sent to vpa@usda.gov. Find your local USDA Service Center.