More funding requested for conservation education - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

More funding requested for conservation education

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- The Resources Enhancement And Protection (REAP) Congress is requesting more funding for conservation education from the Iowa Legislature.

REAP helps support city, county and state conservation efforts.  It also funds projects for landowners, conservation organizations and individuals. The group is currently funded at $18 million in appropriations from state gaming revenues and about $1 million from natural resource license plates.  State leaders distribute funding among eight program areas, including conservation education.

"They saw the need to increase the annual allotment to education from $350,000 to $500,000, then to keep the formula for the rest of the funding exactly as it has been since 1989 when REAP became law," Ross Harrison, DNR REAP coordinator, said about the group's delegates.

Harrison added the delegates are recommending full funding of REAP at $20 million per year, continued emphasis on acquisition of public conservation lands, and endorsed the Iowa Water and Land Legacy (IwiLL) constitutional amendment.  That amendment would further increase conservation funding if voters approve it in November.

The REAP Congress is comprised of five delegates elected in the fall from each of 17 meetings around the state. Sixty-three of eighty-five delegates attended to voice their directions to Governor Chet Culver, the legislature, and Natural Resource Commission as required by the REAP Act.

The Congress also accepted a series of recommendations from a young-adult group to improve the level of activity among young Iowans in natural resources policy.

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