Farmers, conservation groups, elected officials, and anyone interested in outdoor recreation are all being asked to attend upcoming meetings organized by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The 17 meetings, scheduled around the state between September 11 and November 8, will help shape the distribution of funds to various projects.

Ross Harrison, with the DNR, says the funding comes from The Resource Enhancement and Protection Program, or REAP. "Whether you’re in a city, or on a county conservation board, or a farmer that’s got some erosion problems," Harrison says, "the REAP program has money to turn those programs around and turn those things into positive assets."

This year, the state boosted funding to REAP by 40-percent, to 15.5 million dollars. Supporters of REAP would like the amount increased to 20 million dollars next year. Harrison says: "That would make a considerable difference in the landscape around Iowa, with more hiking and biking trails, more access to waterways, improved water and soil conservation projects, and county, city, and state parks. It would really have a great impact on the state." The REAP assemblies are all scheduled from 7 to 9 P.M. The dates and locations are listed on-line at .