Private and tribal landowners in Arizona have an opportunity to apply for technical and financial help to develop and improve wildlife habitat. The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Arizona is accepting applications for the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program from Jan. 14-25.

Through WHIP, NRCS provides technical assistance and 75 percent of the cost for projects that establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. Emphasis is being placed on projects focusing on the following areas:

—Grassland restoration;

—Riparian restoration;

—Wetland restoration;

—Bat habitat protection; and

—Threatened or endangered species.

The amount of funds available for this sign-up period is yet to be determined. In 2007, approximately $367,000 was awarded through WHIP, with six different wildlife projects benefiting from the assistance.

Applications can be turned in at any of the 25 NRCS Field Offices across Arizona. Visit the Web at www.az.nrcs.usda.gov for office locations, or contact Steve Smarik, NRCS Environmental Specialist, at 602-280-8785 for more information.