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Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Management Program (WHCMP)

The Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Management Program (WHCMP) is a cooperative effort involving state and local governments and other partners to incentivize private landowners to voluntarily conserve native wildlife habitat. The Oregon Legislature created the WHCMP to offer a property tax inventive to private landowners who want to provide wildlife habitat on their properties instead of, or in addition to, farming, growing timber or other land uses. Under the WHCMP, land subject to an approved wildlife habitat conservation and management plan receives a wildlife habitat special assessment, where property taxes are assessed at the relatively low value that would apply if the land were being farmed or used for commercial forestry.

The objective of the WHCMP is to preserve, enhance or improve the composition, structure or function of habitat for native wildlife species. The WHCMP supports the efforts of Oregon’s Conservation Strategy, whose primary focus is on improving and expanding voluntary conservation efforts. Tax incentive programs aimed at improving wildlife habitat are tools used to promote and support voluntary conservation actions taken by landowners.

For detailed information on the statutes and rules related to the Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Management Program see Oregon Revised Statutes 308A-400   Oregon Administrative Rules 635-430.

Summary of Steps to Determine Eligibility for Participation in the Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Management Program:

*For complete details on how a landowner would enroll in the WHCMP, please review the WHCMP Landowner Guide.

*Please note, ODFW staff may choose to limit the number of plans approved each year due to workload constraints (ORS 308A.412(4); OAR 635-430-0050(6)).

  1. Confirm your eligibility with a Participating County  
    • If you are a landowner in a participating county you may be eligible. Not all counties are currently participating in the program and only those counties currently participating are able to enroll landowners.
    • To qualify for a wildlife habitat special property tax assessment, the property must be located within an area or zone designated for participation in the WHCMP. Applicants must have county or city planning department fill out an Eligibility Certification Form to confirm that the property is eligible for the program.
    • Complete the Landowner Interest Form and submit it to your local ODFW district office with the signed eligibility form. These forms will help the local ODFW biologist determine if your property has the wildlife habitat characteristics necessary to qualify for enrollment in the WHCMP.    
  2. Develop a habitat plan
    • The landowner, in conjunction with a cooperating agency must develop a wildlife habitat conservation and management plan that specifies the conservation and management practices that will be conducted to protect and restore native habitat and native wildlife species. Cooperating agencies include the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Oregon State University extension service, soil and water conservation district, or qualified contractor. A site visit is usually required prior to drafting a plan.
    • An example of a complete WHCMP plan can be found here: Sample WHCMP Plan. Please refer to the Landowner Guide for a complete list of information required in a habitat plan.
  3. Submit plan for review
    • The landowner must submit the completed habitat plan to ODFW and to the county or city planning department for review. ODFW will notify the landowner in writing if there are recommended changes to the plan, the plan is approved, or if the plan is rejected.  If the plan is approved, ODFW will send a copy of the final approved plan to the local county or city planning department.
  4. Apply for wildlife habitat special assessment
    • To apply for wildlife habitat special assessment the landowner must submit the appropriate application to their local county assessor. Please contact your local city or county planning office for the application form.  Applications must be submitted by April 1 for the tax year for which special assessment is desired, for a habitat plan that was approved prior to January 1.
    • The application for habitat special assessment must include a copy of the approved habitat plan, a copy of ODFW’s notification of the plan’s approval, and a copy of the certification of eligibility.
  5. Continue to implement the approved habitat plan
    • Begin the habitat restoration and conservation activities as directed in the approved WHCMP plan.
    • Submit an Annual Status Report to your local ODFW district office.  
    • ODFW will periodically monitor the property to ensure compliance with the management plan. Non-compliance may result in disqualification from the program and the landowner may be liable for back taxes (ORS 308A.703).

Additional Resources for Landowners and Local Governments:

ODFW Field Offices and Staff Contacts
Northwest Region
North Willamette Watershed District
Clackamas Tonya Moore (971)-673-6000

Participating Counties: Columbia, Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, N. Marion  (areas  N. of Silverton), N. Polk

South Willamette Watershed District
Corvallis Nancy Taylor (541) 757-4186

Participating Counties: Benton, S. Marion, S. Polk

Springfield Chris Yee (541) 726-3515 ext. 27 Participating County: Lane (Eastern Lane County, outside of Coastal Zone)

Mid-Coast Watershed District

Newport Doug Cottam (541)-867-4741 Participating County: Lane (Western Lane County, within the Coastal Zone)
Southwest Region
Umpqua Watershed District
Roseburg Bill Cannaday
(541) 440-3353 Participating County: Douglas
High Desert Region
Deschutes Watershed District
Bend Nancy Breuner
(541) 388-6363

Participating County: Deschutes

The Dalles Jeremy Thompson
(541) 296-4628
Participating Counties: Hood River, Sherman
Klamath Watershed District
Lakeview Craig Foster
(541) 947-2950 Participating County: Lake
Summer Lake Mary Jo Hedrick (541) 943-3324 Participating County: Lake
Northeast Region
John Day Watershed District

Travis Schultz

(541) 676-5230

Participating Counties: Morrow, Wheeler

For more information contact:

Joy Vaughan
Land Use and Waterway Alterations Coordinator
Wildlife Division
(503) 947-6089


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