NRCS ANNOUNCES WILDLIFE HABITAT INCENTIVE PROGRAM
"MONTGOMERY, Ala.," Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced a sign-up period for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) April 15 -- May 31, 2001.
"NRCS in Alabama has received $151,000 for this year's program," said State Conservationist Bob Jones. "WHIP is a voluntary program for people who want to restore and enhance wildlife habitat primarily on private lands. It provides both technical assistance and cost-share payments to help establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. There are three resource concerns that will receive priority consideration -- restoration and development of migratory waterfowl habitat, restoration of bobwhite quail and associated wildlife habitat, and the restoration of certain declining wildlife habitat."
Upon enrollment in WHIP, landowners and NRCS prepare a wildlife habitat development plan in consultation with the local conservation district.
The plan 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 agreement. This plan may or may not be a part of a larger conservation plan that addresses other resource concerns such as water quality and soil erosion.
NRCS and the participant enter into a cost-share agreement for wildlife habitat development. This agreement generally lasts from 5 to 10 years from the date the agreement is signed. Under the agreement, the landowner agrees to install and maintain WHIP practices and allow NRCS or its agent access to monitor the effectiveness of the practices, and NRCS agrees to provide technical assistance and pay up to 60 percent of the cost of installing the wildlife habitat practices.
Cost-share payments may be used to establish new practices or replace practices that fail for reasons beyond the landowner's control.
For more information, contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office, listed in the telephone book under U.S. Department of Agriculture.