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Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program

The WHIP was not re-authorized under the Agricultural Act of 2014.  The following information is for reference only.

State Program Contact

Michael Neubeiser
State Program Manager
(505) 761-4419

The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on privately owned or Tribal lands.

Program Description

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) reauthorized WHIP as a voluntary approach to improving wildlife habitat in our Nation. The Natural Resources Conservation Service administers WHIP to provide technical and financial assistance to participants; to plan and implement conservation practices that will promote high quality habitat that supports fish and wildlife populations of National, State, Tribal, and local significance. WHIP cost-share agreements between NRCS and the participant generally last one year after the last conservation practice is implemented, not to exceed 10 years from the date the agreement is signed. 

  • New Mexico WHIP Plan 2012-2017 (under development)

WHIP - Working Lands for Wildlife

Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) is a partnership between NRCS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to combine technical expertise with WHIP financial assistance; to combat the population decline of at-risk wildlife species, whose decline can be reversed and where it will benefit other wildlife species with similar habitat needs.

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The goal of Working Lands for Wildlife is to promote voluntary, incentive-based conservation on private and Tribal lands, with the primary objectives to:

  • restore populations of declining wildlife species by providing landowners with financial and technical assistance to help improve their lands through wildlife habitat management and protection,

  • strengthen and sustain rural economies by restoring and protecting the productive capacity of working lands, and to

  • provide landowners with Endangered Species Act regulatory predictability and confidence that the conservation investments they make today can help sustain their operations over the long term.

Selected Wildlife Species

A partnership of Federal, state and local wildlife experts jointly identified at-risk species that would benefit from targeted habitat restoration on private lands.  In 2014, eight species were identified for inclusion: the Black-footed Ferret, Bog Turtle, Golden-Winged Warbler, Gopher Tortoise, Greater Sage-Grouse, Lesser Prairie-Chicken, New England Cottontail, and the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher.  Two of these species occur in New Mexico and are included in New Mexico’s Working Lands for Wildlife program.  However, dunging under Whip-WLFW is only available for the SWFL in FY 2014.

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Photograph of a Southwestern Willow Flycatcher

Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus)
Status: Endangered
Habitat: dense riparian areas associated with slow moving water.

Technical and Financial Assistance

Technical Assistance: The working relationships that landowners and land managers have with their local NRCS staff are unique and flexible. NRCS strives to provide one-on-one help, to address opportunities, concerns, and problems related to the use of natural resources that help keeps land healthy. Technical assistance may be requested on wildlife projects, even if not participating in WHIP.  To learn more, visit the National web page on Technical Assistance.

Financial Assistance: Projects accepted into WHIP may receive payments to offset the costs associated with materials and installation of the conservation practices.  WHIP 2014 New Mexico cost share rates are available in Section 1 of the FOTG. (NM/Any County/Section 1/Cost Data/2014/WHIP).

WHIP Sign-up Information

Interested participants can submit an application for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) at any time, at their local NRCS office (Find NRCS Service Centers).  The current evaluation period cutoff date is February 15, 2013.  Interested applicants are encouraged to begin working with their local NRCS office in advance of the current evaluation period cutoff date, or for preparation for the next evaluation period.

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Application Evaluation and Selection

All eligible applications received during the current evaluation period will be assigned a priority (high, medium, low) and ranked; to ensure those applications which provide the greatest conservation benefit will be funded.

News Release

Archived Prior Year Information

For additional information please contact the local NRCS office in your county (USDA Service Centers), and visit the National NRCS website on the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program