Cost share funds available for conservation work

Posted October 10, 2012 at 10:54 am

Are you interested in improving your woodlands, planting new trees, windbreaks, establishing grassed contour buffers and filter strips, or constructing a wetland? Those are just a few practices available under the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program.

The Jones Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) can help you obtain your conservation goals. Traditionally, each year in July, Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Iowa receive REAP funds from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Division of Soil Conservation. The REAP program can help you offset the cost of these projects by offering 50 to 75 percent cost share assistance.

Although applications are taken year-round, the Jones SWCD commissioners encourage you to apply soon as funds are limited. If you are producing an agricultural commodity (the commercial production of food and fiber), you are eligible for REAP funds. This rule does not apply for windbreaks. To take the conservation lead in your neighborhood and become a better steward of the land, give us a call at 319-462-3196, ext. 3 or stop by the office. The Jones SWCD is located in the USDA Building at 300 Chamber Drive, Anamosa.

You may be asking yourself, “What is REAP?” REAP is a program in the State of Iowa that invests in, as its name implies, the enhancement and protection of the state’s natural and cultural resources. Iowa is blessed with a diverse array of natural and cultural resources, and REAP is likewise diverse and far reaching. REAP is funded from the state’s Environment First Fund (Iowa gaming receipts) and from the sale of the natural resource license plates. REAP funds go into eight different programs based upon percentages that are specified in the law. Soil and water enhancement receives 20 percent for practices such as the ones listed above.

Other departments include: City Parks and Open Space, County Conservation, State Land Management, Historical Resources and Roadside Vegetation. The following four state agencies administer REAP programs: Department of Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Division of Soil Conservation, Department of Cultural Affairs & State Historical Society, and Department of Transportation.

Individual county REAP committees are organized throughout the state. Public and private organizations that are interested in any of the REAP elements can participate on county committees. The primary purposes of these committees are to coordinate REAP projects among the various entities and develop a county REAP plan to help direct future REAP projects. If you or your organization is interested, contact the Jones SWCD at 319-462-3196, ext. 3.