on Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Conversations about funding for water quality have been increasing in volume at the Statehouse and in the media in recent weeks. As we work to convert talk into action that results in significant, long-term sustainable funding for our natural resources, we must also ensure continued support for existing programs with a proven track record of success. One such program, which was one of the issues at the forefront of Environmental Lobby Day and REAP Day at the Capitol late last month, is Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection program (REAP).
Established by the Iowa Legislature with near unanimous support in 1989, REAP provides critical funds to enhance and protect the state’s natural and cultural resources. Since its founding, REAP has benefited every county in Iowa and supported over 15,000 projects related to soil and water enhancement; parks, trails and wildlife areas; county conservation, historical resource preservation; roadside beautification and public land management.
Over the years, REAP has proven itself to be a smart investment for Iowa, conserving our natural resources, strengthening our economy, and improving our quality of life. REAP has provided over $320 million to support conservation projects, leveraging two to three times the amount in private, local and federal dollars. Despite its success, the program currently receives far less funding than its authorized level. Last year, the Legislature allocated $16 million to REAP – $4 million less than is authorized for the program. Funding for the next fiscal year will be decided in the coming weeks.
As legislators head into the final weeks of session and budget negotiations, it's critical that we, their constituents keep the issues we care about front and center. Contact your legislators today and let them know you support filling the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund to secure long-term, sustainable funding for water quality AND fully funding REAP at $20 million this year.
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