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 will consider all applications for the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program received by June 20.

NRCS-AZ recently received more than $557,000 in WHIP, which is in addition to the nearly $1.2 million applied to WHIP projects in fiscal year 2008.

"Many Arizona landowners want to improve their land for wildlife but need technical advice and financial help to help cover the costs of habitat enhancement," said David McKay, Arizona state conservationist.

"WHIP may help."

Through WHIP, NRCS provides technical assistance and up to 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.

Landowners can sign-up for WHIP at any time during the year.

Applications received by June 20 will be ranked for the current funding available. Any projects not funded may be considered when future money becomes available.

WHIP 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.