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Wisconsin Habitat Partnership Fund

To help improve and expand quality wildlife habitat in Wisconsin, the DNR is continuing a program that seeks partnerships with local governments, Wisconsin Tribes, and nonprofit conservation organizations for habitat restoration and enhancement projects on public and private lands with the goal of increasing the amount and quality of land open for hunting, trapping and wildlife viewing.

Cities, towns, villages, counties, tribes, and nonprofit 501(c)(3) conservation organizations may apply for financial assistance to carry out priority wildlife habitat projects in Wisconsin.

Funding for this program comes from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, better known as the Pittman-Robertson Act. The mission, goals, and objectives of the Wisconsin Habitat Partnership Fund are consistent with the purpose of Pittman-Robertson funding, focusing on benefits to bird and mammal wildlife.

To receive financial assistance, participants must allow public access for hunting, trapping and wildlife viewing on properties where habitat work occurs for a period determined by the level of financial assistance; public access must be guaranteed for 10 years, 20 years or in perpetuity. See the Program Guidance document for details.

This grant program is administered as a reimbursement program. This means you must incur and pay all costs associated with the project before seeking reimbursement from the DNR. No advance payments will be permitted. It is possible for grantees to request partial reimbursements on a yearly basis from the DNR during the life of the project. Please see the Program Guidance for details.

The DNR is currently not accepting new applications for this program. The Federal Pittman-Robertson (PR) revenue that funded the WHPF has experienced a decline the last few years. The WHPF program is under review, with funding suspended, until the funding levels of PR and a more efficient funding process can be determined. As the program process and funding is reviewed, this webpage will be updated with any new information on future application periods. 

Who can apply

Eligible applicants

Cities, towns, villages, counties, tribes and nonprofit 501(c)(3) conservation organizations may apply for financial assistance.

Project categories

Eligible projects

Habitat projects benefiting wild birds and mammals are a priority for funding consideration. Desired projects include, but are not limited to:

  • prairie restoration
  • wetland restoration
  • stream restoration
  • reforestation/regeneration
  • savanna restoration
  • streambank stabilization
  • timber stand improvement
  • invasive species control
  • wetland infrastructure upgrade or maintenance
  • grassland mowing
  • prescribed fire
  • upland shrub maintenance

Ineligible projects

  • Capital development projects (e.g., building construction, trails).
  • Acquisition of land (eligible as match)
  • Pine plantations

Deadline

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM HAS BEEN SUSPENDED - Until further notice we will not be accepting new applications..

Applying

Forms for submitting a grant

The DNR is currently not accepting new applications for this program

Complete applications will include all forms and maps. Below is the list of documents for submitting an application:

If you are having issues opening these forms, please visit our PDF Help Page.

Obtain proper credentials:

Applicants will need to obtain a DUNS number prior to submitting an application for funding:

Submit your application materials

Please submit your applications via email to: DNRHabitatPartnershipGrants@Wisconsin.gov

Potential applicants may contact the program manager with questions.

Reimbursement

Forms for Submitting Reimbursement Requests

Requests for reimbursement must be submitted on DNR forms. Reimbursement requests must include both proofs of purchase and proofs of payment. Examples of proof of purchase are signed contracts with vendors, work orders, etc. Examples of proof of payment include canceled checks (both front and back), bank statements showing check has cleared, credit card statement, and local government payroll voucher.

Since funds provided by the DNR come from a Federal agency, awardees must also identify the local share (i.e., match) component for each reimbursement request. Use DNR form 9300-230 for this purpose.

Important note: For projects that occur on lands not owned by the DNR, awardee must submit a signed and recorded Public Access Easement to DNR within six months of signing the award agreement or in conjunction with a reimbursement request, whichever occurs sooner.

Note: All costs incurred must include copies of invoices and proofs of payment. Donated Professional Services and materials shall be determined by market value and be established by an invoice.

Resources

Application resources

Report templates

Landowner protections

Under sec. 895.52, Wis Stats, landowners are generally immune from liability for injuries received by individuals recreating on their lands. This law provides liability protection to landowners for injury or death of individuals participating in outdoor recreation. Courts have consistently interpreted this statute to protect landowners in furtherance of its purpose, which is to encourage landowners to allow others to recreate on their lands.

Under sec. 29.617, Wis Stats, the department agrees to pay for damages arising from the operation of public hunting or fishing grounds. Claims may include damage to crops or property such as gates or fences.

Laws

Grant related statutes and administrative codes

Contact

Contact information
For more information about the WHPF program, including to obtain application forms and instructions, contact:
Sarah Brenner
Grants Program Manager
Sara Comstock
(608) 261-0775
Grants Program Coordinator