(1) Projects must meet the following requirements before the department may authorize participation in the program:
(a) projects must be designed to establish, improve, or protect necessary habitat components such as nesting cover, effective winter cover, brood habitat, and food sources;
(b) projects should be located on a minimum of 100 acres but may be considered on lands less than 100 acres if land with guaranteed public access is within the project area of influence. All habitat components need not be under the ownership of the applicant if other of the necessary habitat components are present at suitable distances on adjacent ownerships;
(c) all projects must be implemented through lease, conservation easement, or contract using upland game bird habitat enhancement program cost-sharing with the private landowner, public land management agency, or other conservation partner;
(d) all projects must be open to public hunting for upland game birds for the duration of the project as defined in the contract or work plan. Reasonable use limitations on numbers of hunters and areas to be hunted may be allowed; however, user fees may not be charged. Projects located within a leased or commercial hunting operation will not be considered.