The Iowa House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution this week commending all Iowans who have contributed their time, energy, and commitment to ensure the success of Iowa’s nationally recognized Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program.

Individual Iowans and visitors to our state are encouraged to participate in an outdoor activity or event during this 25th anniversary year to celebrate our success and enjoy the blessings of our natural heritage.

REAP is a long-term, integrated effort to protect and wisely use Iowa’s natural resources.  Funding is used for the acquisition and management of public lands; improving our water quality through soil and water enhancement projects; upgrading our city, county, and state parks and trails; and supporting environmental education, museums, and roadside beautification.

Public participation is a key part of REAP.  Hundreds of Iowans gather every other year in regional and statewide meetings to discuss Iowa’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources and show their support for the program.  The vision and planning that went into the creation of the program 25 years ago is a source of pride, as demonstrated by the fact that the program and its funding allocation formula have never been altered.

REAP was signed into law on May 27, 1989.  Although the program has not been fully funded since 1991, at $20 million a year, it has over the past 25 years financed projects with $264 million in state investments, leveraging two to three times that amount in private, local, and federal dollars.  REAP has benefited all 99 Iowa counties by supporting a total of 14,535 projects since inception.