Archive for Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Deadline for wildlife program extended

March 26, 2008

— The one month extension of the 2002 Farm Bill is allowing the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to offer additional funds to landowners interested in the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). The NRCS accepts applications on a continuous basis. Applications received now through April 1, 2008, will be considered for funding.

"This is a short timeline but it will allow interested landowners to apply for the program," said Astor. Boozer, NRCS acting state conservationist for the state. "Approximately $150,000 is available statewide. Interested landowners should contact their local NRCS to apply by April 1."

The WHIP offers the financial and technical assistance for the development of habitat, for both wildlife and fisheries, on private or tribal lands. Priority is given to applications that benefit declining species. The program encourages creation of high-quality wildlife habitat for uplands, wetlands, riparian areas, or aquatic areas.

The NRCS identified the following priorities for the Kansas WHIP plan:

¢Grassland birds with emphasis on bobwhite quail, ring-neck pheasant, and prairie chicken (lesser and greater)

¢Threatened and endangered (T&E) species and species in need of conservation (SINC)

¢Natural communities to include prairies, wetlands, and riparian areas

"During the last 10 years in Kansas, we have written over 1,000 WHIP contracts to improve more than 151,000 acres so these are very small parcels but vital to wildlife," said Boozer.

Agriscultural producers interested in participating in WHIP can apply at any time at their U. S. Department of Agriculture Service Center at their local NRCS office (785-863-2201) or the Leavenworth County Conservation District office at 330 Shawnee, Rm 314 in Leavenworth (913-682-2133). Information about WHIP for fiscal year 2008 is available on the Web site at http://www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov/programs and scrolling to WHIP.

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