By APRIL SIGMUND, Council communications intern
A budget proposal before the Iowa Senate calls for fully funding the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program for the first time. This proposal would support projects all over Iowa to care for our state’s natural resources for current and future generations.
REAP works to enhance and protect the state’s natural and cultural resources by funding a diverse array of projects that promote these ideas. The program also accomplishes these goals through its frequent public participation opportunities.
The program is authorized to receive up to $20 million each year, but recent legislative appropriations have provided only $12 million, slowing the pace of projects the program can support.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has prepared a new series of fact sheets highlighting the impact of Iowa’s most important conservation programs, REAP, or the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program.
The fact sheets show how nearly all of REAP’s funding, which comes from Iowa’s Environment First Fund (Iowa gaming receipts) and from natural resource license plate sales, is distributed among eight different programs in the form of grants. They are now available for download as .pdf files.
- State Open Space
- City Parks and Open Space
- Soil and Water Enhancement
- County Conservation
- State Land Management
- Historical Resources
- Roadside Vegetation
Multiple programs serving multiple needs
Money from each program funds local projects with different goals. The county conservation program, for example, provides counties with funding for projects that include:
- Increasing outdoor recreation opportunities
- Protecting land
- Repairing and upgrading facilities
- Providing environmental education and equipment
It recently provided Clayton County $463,000 after a historical bridge built in 1895 was destroyed by flooding. The funding allowed for a new bridge that closely resembles the original, and also connects communities and a multi-purpose trail.
Impact in every county
And this is just the beginning. Every County in Iowa benefits from REAP funding. The Iowa REAP Alliance, a coalition of organizations including the Council who support REAP, maintains an interactive map on its website showing the amount of grant support each county has received.
REAP also offers frequent opportunities for public participation. You can help oversee REAP proposals in your community and provide feedback for improving the program overall.
The proposed agriculture and Natural Resources budget working its way through the Iowa Senate proposes providing full funding for the REAP program, or $20 million. If this level of funding were to ultimately pass the legislature, it would be the first time in REAP’s history that the program has received full funding.