Iowans will get the chance to help guide the plans of the state’s Resource Enhancement and Protection Program, known as REAP, at a series of 18 meetings statewide starting tonight in Cedar Falls. Tammie Krausman, is a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“These meetings are for anyone who has an interest in natural resources and outdoor recreation,” Krausman says. “They should really consider attending so they can give their voice and help shape the future for Iowa’s natural resources and outdoor rec.” For more than two decades, she says REAP has been a positive force in Iowa’s outdoor recreation and conservation activities.

Krausman says, “REAP is a 22-year-old program that’s given out $260-million that has funded parks, soil and water and habitat improvements, roadside prairies, historical development and conservation education.” She says Iowans are invited to offer their views on REAP at the meetings, in addition to a chance to take part in a REAP Congress next January at the Iowa House of Representatives.

“The Congress is a very cool thing,” she says. “You sit at the legislators’ desks and you can vote. People at that time provide motions or votes on what they want to have happen to the REAP program, perhaps they want to keep the formula the same, perhaps they want increase funding for REAP.”

Iowa legislators appropriated 15-million dollars to the program last year and 12-million this year. The full funding of the REAP Act is at $20 million. Tonight’s meeting is in Cedar Falls with meetings to be held over the next month in the following 17 cities: Monona, Coralville, Maquoketa, Mason City, Marshalltown, Correctionville, Spencer, Fort Dodge, Muscatine, Burlington, Fairfield, Shenandoah, Council Bluffs, Carroll, Moravia, Creston and West Des Moines.

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By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City