U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



This review was published by The Wildlife Society, in cooperation with USDA's National Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency, as 'Fish and Wildlife Benefits of Farm Bill Programs: 2000–2005 Update'.


Th e Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program that encourages the establishment and enhancement of a wide variety of fish and wildlife habitats of national, state, tribal, or local significance. Through voluntary agreements, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides financial and technical assistance to participants who installed habitat restoration and management practices. Since 1998, nearly $150 million has been dedicated to the program and over 2.8 million acres involving over 18,000 contracts have been enrolled. A wide range of habitat-enhancement actions are cost-shared through the program, affecting hundreds of target and non-target species. While few quantitative data exist describing how fish and wildlife have responded to terrestrial and aquatic habitats enrolled in the program, the popularity of WHIP among participants and funding partners and anecdotal evidence imply that tangible benefits to target species are being realized. Additional studies are needed to better understand how WHIP projects affect local habitat use by and population response of target and non-target species.