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Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program

What you need to know:  

  • State-wide eligibility on private property  
  • No minimum landholding or Project acres to apply 
  • Landowners can apply annually between Sept 1 and Dec 31, pool of landowner applications are reviewed and approved once a year (June)
  • $4,500.00 maximum reimbursement per landowner (project), per year  
  • Approved projects are set up for a 1-year contract with a 10-year maintenance period: landowner agrees to maintain the work done under the project for 10 years after the project is complete  
  • Land lessees may apply on leased property; however the lessee needs to provide a copy of lease agreement that shows management capability for the 10-year maintenance length (else lessee can have landowner apply)  

Under Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program, the Department partners with landowners to restore and preserve native habitat and landscapes for wildlife in Oklahoma. The Department shares part of the cost of habitat improvement work by providing partial reimbursement after the project is done. In exchange, the landowner agrees to maintain the habitat for a period of 10 years.  

The application period is set for September 1st through December 31st annually, but applications are grouped by the calendar year of receipt (e.g., an application submitted in calendar year 2020 would be grouped together and funded in July 2021). After applications are submitted, the landowner will be contacted by their designated Private Lands Biologist who will discuss landowner objectives and likely schedule a visit to view the property, lay out a plan and identify the habitat practice that will be applied under the program.

All applications for a calendar year will be reviewed by a team in June to ensure projects meet program objectives and that the project will appreciably improve local wildlife habitat. Landowners will be notified of the outcome after the review, and those with approved projects will be presented an agreement that they can accept and sign. When signing the agreement, landowners are entering a 1-year contract to complete the identified work with a subsequent 10-year agreement to maintain the completed work (e.g. if the WHIP project includes installing 1 mile of firebreaks, ODWC expects that 1 mile of firebreak to still be a functioning firebreak 10 years later). After the agreement is signed, the landowner is free to start work on their project.

Generally, agreements are written to be active until June 30th of the following year to complete the work. After completion of the project, the assigned Biologist will schedule another visit to inspect the work and confirm the quantity of identified habitat practices (i.e. if 5 acres of timber stand improvement was planned, was 5 acres accomplished). The Biologist will then initiate the paperwork required to process your reimbursement based on the work completed. Landowners will generally receive a payment within 45-90 days from the inspection site visit. 

Examples of approved projects include but are not limited to, timber thinning or the creation of small openings in timber stands, native grass planting, cedar removal, firebreak installation, native tree or shrub planting, or small wetland creation. Short-term habitat improvements like food plots and disking are encouraged but are not considered for cost-sharing. 

If you are interested in participating in this program please read the WHIP Bulletin for complete details before applying. 


Any landowner in Oklahoma is eligible to apply, regardless of property size. 

How to Enroll 

Area Wildlife Biologists are available for Technical Assistance and to answer questions landowners may have for their property. Contact us below to schedule a technical assistance visit or receive a WHIP application. 

When To Enroll

The application period is September 1st through December 31st.



Applications will be accepted beginning Sept. 1

Contact Us For Additional Information

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