Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Purpose of this program:

This program was created to develop upland wildlife habitat, wetland wildlife habitat, threatened and endangered species habitat, fish habitat and other types of wildlife habitat.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

Technical assistance is provided to develop a Wildlife Habitat Development Plan for eligible participants. Cost-share payments may be made to implement wildlife habitat practices. Up to seventy-five percent cost-share is available from NRCS to reimburse participants for installing practices beneficial to wildlife.

Who is eligible to apply...

A participant may be an owner, landlord, operator, or tenant of eligible lands. Limited resource producers, small scale producers, producers of minority groups, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, Alaska natives, and Pacific Islanders are encouraged to apply.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:

Evidence that applicant has control over land to be entered into contract and submits an acceptable Wildlife Habitat Development Plan for the land unit of concern that incorporates needed wildlife habitat practices. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

Program participation is voluntary. The applicant applies at the local USDA service center on Form NRCS-LPT-1. Applications may be filed at any time during the year. The participant, With the Natural Resources Conservation Service develops a Wildlife Habitat Development Plan for the land unit of concern. The participant's plan serves as the basis for the WHIP cost-share agreement. Technical assistance, and cost-share payments may be provided to apply the needed wildlife habitat practices within a time schedule specified by the plan. A participant may apply one or more wildlife habitat practices in a cost-share agreement.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

NRCS may designate a wildlife habitat type or a region of special wildlife habitat concern as a priority. The priorities are designated by the State Conservationist based on recommendations of local work groups which are convened by the local conservation district and in consultation with the State Technical Committee. NRCS will give special consideration to applicants who have Wildlife Habitat Development Plans that address wildlife habitat concerns consistent with state priorities. Applications will be ranked and selected for funding.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...



Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time


Preapplication Coordination

None. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102 and E.O. 12372.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.


A participant may appeal any adverse determination to NRCS.

Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


Not applicable.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

A participant may be an owner, landlord, operator, or tenant of eligible lands. Limited resource producers, small-scale producers, producers of minority groups, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, Alaska natives, and Pacific Islanders are encouraged to apply.

About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Direct Payments for Specified Use

Financial assistance from the Federal government provided directly to individuals, private firms, and other private institutions to encourage or subsidize a particular activity by conditioning the receipt of the assistance on a particular performance by the recipient. This does not include solicited contracts for the procurement of goods and services for the Federal government.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Average contract payments are estimated to be $4,500.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.


(Cost-Share Agreements) FY 03 $17,928,927; FY 04 est $27,341,600; and FY 05 est $46,452,000. (Salaries and Expenses) FY 03 $7,161,595; FY 04 est $7,274,100; and FY 05 est $12,348,000.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification


Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Restoring native grasslands; improving aquatic habitat with obstruction removal, fish passages and streambank stabilization; estuarine habitat improvement; cave closures for bat habitat; native tree planting; invasive plant control.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

States began implementing WHIP in fiscal year 1998. Over 1.4 million acres are enrolled in the program. The average agreement encompassed 165 acres. Of all acres enrolled, 89 percent are designed for upland habitat, 12 percent for wetland habitat, 3 percent were riparian habitat, and nearly 1 percent in-stream aquatic habitat. It is estimated that approximately 15 percent of the total acreage enrolled in WHIP will benefit threatened and endangered species.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

Applications will be ranked and selected for funding based on: The wildlife habitat benefits derived and the extent the cost-share agreement will assist in achieving the wildlife habitat priority goals and objectives in the area the land unit is located.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The WHIP cost-share agreement period is a minimum of 5 to 10 years. Agreements of shorter duration are permitted under limited wildlife emergency circumstances. Obligations for assistance are tied to the schedule for applying wildlife habitat practices included in the Wildlife Habitat Development Plan used as the basis for contract. Payments are made when the participant and NRCS certify that a conservation practice is completed in accordance with the cost-share agreement.

Formula and Matching Requirements

Installation of cost-share practices to develop wildlife habitat can be funded by cost-sharing up to 75 percent of the total cost of establishing the practice by NRCS. Program participants or nonfederal partners provide the remaining 25 percent. Other practices may be required to be installed without program payments.

A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...


No reports. NRCS and the participant conduct an annual status review during the length of the cost-share agreement that includes maintenance of completed contract items and need for deletion or addition of cost-share agreement items.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.


NRCS makes periodic random reviews of the operation and maintenance of the cost-share agreement items during the life span of the conservation practice. Participants are subject to audit by the Office of Inspector General, USDA.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).


Maintained in the NRCS state office and Federal records centers for specified number of years.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.



Federal Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104-127; 16 U.S.C. 3830 et. seq.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

7 CFR Part 636. Program is announced through news media and in announcements to agricultural producers, farm and ranch owners and operators in the county. Program manuals, handbooks, and leaflets issued by NRCS and FSA.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

For more information on this and other related conservation programs, consult the local telephone directory where your land is located for location of the USDA service center. NRCS, FSA, and many local conservation districts are located in USDA service centers. For a list of NRCS State Office telephone numbers and addresses, see Additional Contact Information - FMR Help.

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, P. O. Box 2890, Washington, DC 20013. ATTN: Director, Watersheds and Wetlands Division. Telephone: (202) 720-3534. FAX: (202) 720-2143. Program Contact: Martha Joseph at (202) 720-7157.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: