The cost of those specialty license plates featuring the goldfinch and wild rose — Iowa’s state bird and flower — is going up, but the people who buy them may not mind. Doug Harr is the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’s wildlife diversity coordinator. He says the amount of the increase in price will now go directly to help fund the non-game wildlife diversity program. Harr says it’s a program that’s been chronically underfunded. The money from the plates had all gone to the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program, or REAP — something buyers might not have known. He says he thinks a lot of people thought the money did go to the wildlife diversity program — when none of it was directly dedicated to the program. Now he says you can purchase the plate knowing it is helping non-game wildlife in Iowa. Harr says in January the cost of buying a new plate will go up 10 dollars to 45 dollars. The cost to renew the plates will go to 25-dollars — a 15-dollar increase. He says the goldfinch and wild rose plates are some of the most popular, right behind the specialty plates for the state’s universities with about 56-thousand sold. He says if they can continue at the present rate of renewal, it would put about three-quarters of a million dollars into the non-game wildlife program. Harr says you can buy the plates at your county courthouse.He says you can go in at any time and get the specialty plate, even if it’s not yet time to renew your regular license plate. Harr says the nongame wildlife program not only helps the goldfinch, but also the bald eagle, ornate box turtle, and other species that not pursued by hunters or anglers.
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