The Resource Enhancement and Protection fund, commonly referred to as REAP, was funded at $12 million in the Agriculture and Department of Natural Resources budget this year. The legislature directed $2 million of this funding, though, to state parks. When this $2 million “scoop” of REAP funding is accounted for, REAP actually receives $10 million this year, the lowest funding level since 2003.

REAP was established to invest in the enhancement and protection of Iowa’s natural and cultural resources. The program is authorized to receive $20 million according to the Iowa Code, but the funding is often cut by the legislature annually. REAP funds go into eight different programs based on a formula in state law. The funding is specifically targeted to providing more public land, or open spaces, county conservation, soil and water enhancement, city open spaces and parks, public land management of conservation land, habitat and facilities, historical resources, and roadside vegetation.

In addition to providing REAP funding, House File 2491 also provided funding for the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The bill funded the regular operations of the departments at $39.4 million overall, an increase of $825,000 from last year. This funding level is still nearly $2 million less than the departments were funded in Fiscal Year 2017.