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Habitat Improvement Program Guidelines

Friday, October 31, 2014 

Habitat Improvement Program

Any private landowner is eligible to participate in some kind of private lands program. Please contact the Fish and Game Habitat Biologist in one of our regions for more information.

General Cost Share Guidelines - All Projects
— Project site locations must be approved by Regional Wildlife Habitat Biologist

  • 75% cost-share of remaining Cooperator project costs on HIP project with multiple funding sources
  • Calculate HIP cost share after other cost-share has been determined
  • 75% cost-share on upland game 10-year agreements
  • 50% cost-share on wetland projects (Exception: see next line for wetland plant cost share)
  • 75% cost share on purchase of plant materials (upland, wetland, or riparian)
  • 100% cost share on quail condos
  • 100% cost-share on all 30+ year agreements
  • HIP contract must specify funding for future maintenance or multi-year contracts is dependent upon Department annual appropriations and is not guaranteed.
  • 100% cost-share on HIP projects if private landowner enrolls project lands in Access Yes for 5 years (lands must be large enough to provide good hunting opportunity.

Food Plots (Provide standing forage near winter cover for wildlife) - General Specifications:

  • Adjacent to good winter cover with populations of wintering upland game birds.
  • Minimum ½ mile apart and 2 acres max in size.
  • Food plot payments will be paid in fall after quality and quantity is confirmed.
  • 1 year agreement on annual food plot, up to five year on perennial or reoccurring food plots. (HIP contract must specify funding for multiple year contracts is dependent upon Department annual appropriations and is not guaranteed).

Annual Crop

  • Corn, North Idaho or irrigated grain $500/acre
  • South Idaho non-irrigated grain $250/acre
  • Other small cereal crops: Assessed value at proven or est. yield and current market price

Perennial - Forb Strips

  • 100% of actual costs up to $250/acre for 1st year if plot established in permanent cover
  • 100% of actual costs up to $120/acre for annual maintenance for first 3 years of contract. (HIP contract must specify funding for multiple year contracts is dependent upon Department annual appropriations and is not guaranteed).
  • 100% of actual re-seeding cost to restore CRP grasses taken out by food plot. One attempt. No maintenance cost share.

Stubble (Crop Residue) Management

  • Pay $20/acre to leave residual grain stubble for upland game forage
  • $2,000/contact/operation and 100-acres maximum. One year contracts only.
  • Stubble plots should be a minimum of 100' and maximum 200' in width
  • Only plots left along winter cover areas are eligible for payment
  • Stubble must have a minimum of 12" in height and may not be cultivated by any means
  • Spraying is allowed for weed control and crop disease if necessary
  • Plots must be left until March 30th the following spring

Woody Cover Plantings (provide winter habitat, riparian habitats, escape cover and travel corridors to adjacent habitats by establishing tree and shrubs)

  • 75% cost-share for seedlings and establishment costs on 10-year agreements
  • Protect from grazing and fire
  • Blocks of at least 1/10 acre
  • Provide cost-share assistance on maintenance projects for first 3 years of agreement. (HIP contract must specify funding for maintenance is dependent upon Department annual appropriations and is not guaranteed).

Dense Nesting Cover Blocks (provide permanent nesting and brood rearing habitats)

  • 75% cost-share on seed, site preparation and planting costs on 10-year agreements
  • Provide cost-share assistance for future maintenance of grass stands to include burning, light disking with inter-seeding, and decadent vegetation removal by haying or controlled grazing. (HIP contract must specify funding for maintenance is dependent upon Department annual appropriations and is not guaranteed).

Fencing: (protect critical areas for wildlife)

  • 100% cost share for materials to cooperators who construct their own fence
  • 75% cost-share for contracted fencing projects
  • Cost share not available to public land management agencies

Other "Potential" Projects (provide nesting, brood rearing, and winter habitats):
Pasture Rental: up to 3 year lease agreements on grazing lands that will provide quality upland bird habitat or protection of wetland habitats.

  • Use current Idaho Dept. of Lands AUM lease rate: 2009 rate is $6.01/AUM
  • Rental payment is made annually.
  • (HIP contract must specify funding for multi-year contract is dependent upon Department annual appropriations and is not guaranteed).
  • Fencing is the obligation of the landowner
  • Monitor each summer and winter

Delayed Mowing: One year contract to delay mowing until July 1 in an area critical to nesting waterfowl or upland game birds and where the common practice is to take 1st cutting in May.

  • Pay market value of foregone hay income (1st cutting) with a maximum of $2,000

Riparian Buffer Extensions: On CCRP Buffers or other CRP conservation projects IDFG can pay acre rental rates to landowners in order to increase size of buffer strip to include critical habitats and/or to straighten irregular field lines.

  • Payment will be consistent with USDA rental rates established for project
  • Payment = (rental rate) x (acres) x (duration of contract)
  • Maximum cost share is $10,000.
  • (HIP contract must specify funding for multi-year contract is dependent upon Department annual appropriations and is not guaranteed)

Grass Buffer Strips: To protect new habitat plantings or critical habitats from noxious weeds, agriculture chemical drift or other practices a projective grass buffer strip could be established. The strip would be a minimum of 50'in width and consist of an RHB approved grass mixture.

  • 75% cost-share on seed, site preparation and planting costs on 10-year agreements
  • Payment will be consistent with USDA rental rates established for project
  • Payment = (rental rate) x (acres) x (duration of 10 yr agreement)
  • Maximum payment is $10,000.

Actual Reimbursable Project Costs: All reimbursable project costs submitted for cost-share must be within an invoice. Allowable costs include Cooperator out-of-pocket expenses for physical and plant materials, chemicals, contracted labor, and equipment costs to implement the habitat project.

In-Kind Contributions: Cooperators can submit contributions of time, equipment, and materials as part of their cost-share percentage. IDFG will use the standardized rates derived from common NRCS Practices and Standards. These rates are subject to change annually.

Item or PracticeRateUnit
Cooperator Labor $6.00 hr
Seed bed prep $15.00 acre
Seeding $9.00 acre
Chemical application $3.00 acre
Clip and Remove (haying) $15.00 acre
Clipping for establish and maintenance $7.50 acre
Controlled Burning $4.00 acre
Light disking or harrowing $7.50 acre
Light disk/seedbed prep/inter-seeding $24.00 acre
Last Updated: June 8, 2012 
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