Input Asked on Shape of Conservation Programs

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Iowans will have the chance to shape the future of the state's premiere outdoor recreation and conservation funding program - Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) - at 16 public meetings in February and March.

The Resource Enhancement and Protection Program, has a 17-year, $180 million funding history for Iowa's parks, water quality, habitat improvements, roadside prairies, historical development and conservation education. In recent years, state gaming revenues have funded REAP at $11.5 million per year, according to Jeff Vonk, DNR director.

"Any Iowan who has even the slightest interest in natural resources and outdoor recreation should consider attending one of these REAP meetings," said Vonk. "You will find it highly interesting and well worth your time as you participate to make REAP better and stronger for your local part of the state. REAP works because it is a local program that matches local needs with helpful revenue."

"REAP's investment in Iowa has improved the quality of life through outdoor recreation, diverse landscapes and environmental health," he said. "The investment also yields high economic returns; it is the heart of local conservation."

Coordinator of the REAP program Ross Harrison explained that those attending the REAP assemblies will be able to work together to set future directions and list their favorite local projects. They will also elect delegates to the REAP Congress in Des Moines later in July. That congress will vote on priorities to send to the Governor and Legislature.

All REAP public meetings will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and there is no need for advance reservations.

For more information, contact: Ross Harrison, DNR at 515-281-5973, or by e-mail at [email protected]