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Antelope herd in sage grass.

Projects are intended to be focused on ecologically-important wildlife habitats with landscape-scale benefits Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program Grants

Program Specifics

FWP's Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP) is a federal grant program for conducting noxious weed management to restore wildlife habitat.

WHIP projects should include:

  • ecologically important wildlife habitat that is directly threatened by noxious weed invasion;

  • a landscape or watershed-scale approach;

  • multiple partners and landownerships;

  • access for public hunting;

  • and a plan to maintain or restore native plant communities following weed management activities.


Up to $2M of federal Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration funds are available annually for new WHIP projects and requires a dollar of nonfederal matching funds (cash) for every 3 dollars of federal grant funding. Grants, which are paid in the form of reimbursed expenses, may be up to five years in duration.

Advisory Council

The WHIP program is overseen by a citizen advisory council that is responsible for advising the department on program administration and for reviewing, ranking, and recommending proposed projects for funding.


Eligible activities include herbicide, biocontrol, and mechanical treatments, restoration seedings, grazing improvements as part of an integrated noxious weed management plan, and project administration and monitoring.

All WHIP program requirements and eligible expenditures are defined in the Kelly Flynn Montana Wildlife Habitat Improvement Act (MCA 87-5-800) and FWP administrative rules (ARM 12.9.16).

How to Apply

2024 Funding Opportunity

Application period: September 1 - November 22, 2023

WHIP applications are detailed and complex. FWP strongly encourages contacting the WHIP Coordinator, Smith Wells (406-444-7291 or, for guidance on your project design to ensure compliance with the program requirements.

Grant Guidelines

Detailed description of application requirements, FAQ, application examples and templates:

WHIP Grant Requirements

Who can apply

Entities that have the capacity to administer grant projects and that are financially able to take on grant expenditures may apply to receive a WHIP grant. This includes:

  • communities

  • noxious weed management districts

  • conservation districts

  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations

  • state, federal, and tribal agencies

  • other entities FWP considers appropriate for wildlife habitat improvement grant projects

WHIP recommends working with your local county weed district coordinator to select herbicides appropriate for the site and type of noxious weeds to be controlled. They can also help calculate the cost of weed treatments needed to accomplish your treatment goals and objectives.

Project Requirements

To qualify for a grant, a WHIP project must:

  • enhance ecologically important wildlife habitats through the management of noxious weeds that directly threaten habitat functions;

  • have a reasonable probability of treatment effectiveness through appropriate planning and methodology, anticipated native plant community recovery, preservation of non-target plant species, and post-treatment management;

  • use a landscape or watershed-scale approach;

  • include a minimum 25% non-federal cash match; and

  • report on measurable objectives and vegetation monitoring to allow the department to analyze how noxious weed management is enhancing land as wildlife habitat.

In addition to the eligibility requirements, the proposal ranking process will consider projects that:

  • include funding commitments from multiple partners;

  • involve effective collaboration across multiple land ownerships (public and private); and

  • include access for public hunting.

Eligible Expenditures

  • Herbicides and additives

  • Biological control agents

  • Reseeding

  • Mechanical weed control

  • Grazing improvements (as part of an integrated weed management plan) – permanent fencing, stock water infrastructure (cash match only)

  • Grant administration, vegetation monitoring, and related administrative costs – up to 10% of total project amount

Submitting Grant Applications

Application forms must be submitted electronically via the Montana Grants and Loans (WebGrants) website. During the WHIP grant application period (early September – late November).

Grant Application Review and Approval

All applications will go through a competitive review, ranking, and approval process with the WHIP Advisory Council (see Advisory Council section). Grant hearings are held in January and the Council makes funding recommendations to FWP. Incomplete applications may not be considered for funding. Grants are generally awarded and projects can begin by July of the year following application submittal.

FWP Reports to Environmental Quality Council

Program Contact

Smith Wells, WHIP Coordinator