The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas has announced $2 million available through a national initiative to help reduce the threat to lesser prairie-chicken (LPC) habitat in historic rangeland sites.

“This additional assistance, through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), offers landowners the opportunity to enhance the LPC habitat in the High Plains and South Plains regions,” said Manuel De Leon, NRCS wildlife biologist, Lubbock “The initiative supplements what we have already been doing to assist landowners in their efforts to improve the habitat.”

NRCS will be accepting applications through August 1, 2010. “Landowners interested in the initiative for the LPC should inquire now for technical and financial assistance to help establish and improve the habitat,” said De Leon.

The WHIP program is a voluntary conservation program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on private lands. The program offers a continuous signup.

Clint Rollins, NRCS rangeland management specialist, Amarillo, said, “Landowners can develop a comprehensive wildlife management plan that can specifically address the LPC habitat.”

The initiative is part of a multi-state opportunity that also includes New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma.

“Good LPC habitat equates to good rangeland that can improve or increase beef production if managed properly,” said Rollins. “I encourage all producers in this region to contact the NRCS to find out how the program options can benefit their needs for wildlife enhancement and management.”

For additional information about the lesser prairie-chicken initiative and how to apply, please contact the local NRCS office in your county, or visit the Texas NRCS website at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/whip.