Wildlife Habitats Incentive Program- WHIP
Currently Ohio is not funded for the fiscal year 2013 WHIP Program
This program uses 5 to 15 year cost share agreements to protect and restore wetland and wildlife habitats. Emphasis is placed on warm-season grassland habitat and wetland habitat creation. There is a continuous sign-up period for WHIP; applications are ranked and funded once per year, statewide.
How WHIP Works
Landowners agree to prepare and implement a wildlife habitat development plan which focuses on conservation practices that directly benefit wildlife on any habitat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial assistance to implement the wildlife habitat restoration practices.
Each state develops a program implementation plan including state objectives, wildlife priorities, partnership involvement, an explanation of the ranking process and criteria, and a process for measuring success of the program. In general, the priorities for WHIP in Ohio are those habitats which are most important for species that have had significant declines or are of state or national importance.
NRCS provides the technical and financial assistance to establish, maintain, or replace wildlife habitat practices. Financial assistance payments will reimburse up to 75 percent of the average cost of installing the practices. Federal or State wildlife agencies or private organizations may provide additional funding or expertise to help complete a project. Generally the total financial assistance cannot exceed $150,000 per contract. The WHIP contract agreement normally lasts from one year after the conservation practice is implemented to not more than 10 years from the date the contract is signed. Under the agreement, the landowner agrees to maintain the installed practices for the life of the practice and will allow NRCS access to monitor the effectiveness of the installed practices.
Land eligible for WHIP includes:
- Private agricultural land - cropland, grassland, pasture and other land determined by NRCS to be suitable for fish and wildlife habitat development, on which agricultural and forest-related products or livestock are or have the potential to be produced. Agricultural lands may include cropped woodland, marshes, incidental area included in the agricultural operation, and other types of land used for production of livestock.
- Non-industrial private forest land - rural land that has existing tree cover or is suitable for growing trees and is owned by any nonindustrial private individual, group, association, corporation, or other private legal entity that has definitive decision-making authority over the land.
- Tribal land.
Land ineligible for WHIP includes:
- Land currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, or other similar program
- Land used for mitigation
- Land where onsite or offsite conditions would undermine or reduce the benefits of habitat development, as determined by USDA
- Non-agricultural lands
- Federal, State, county, or local government owned lands
Contact John Williams at the Butler/Hamilton NRCS for more info at 513-887-3720