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Area REAP reps develop District 5 priorities

By Staff | Oct 14, 2011

Developing the five-year priority for conservation education for District 5 are, from left, Brian Lammers, executive director for Hamilton County Conservation; Chad Eells and Jean Eells, of Webster City; and Chuck Gipp, deputy director for Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

FORT?DODGE – Engaging young people and families to get involved in outdoor activities, along with a focus on conservation education, were two of three points hammered out on Oct, 6 at the District 5 REAP assembly at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park in Fort Dodge.

The third priority called for Iowa to concentrate spending conservation dollars to avoid flooding, improve water quality and reduce soil loss.

Although just 18 people attended District 5’s biennial assembly for spending Resource Enhancement and Protection dollars, attendees broke into working groups and formed the district’s five-year vision for environmental and conservation improvements.

District 5 is comprised of Calhoun, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Webster and Wright counties.

The five-year vision developed Thursday will be presented Jan. 7, 2012, at the state REAP congress. From there, the state’s priorities will be developed and presented to the next Iowa Legislative session for REAP funding.

Among those attending Oct. 6’s meeting were members of conservation districts, wildlife preservation groups, habitat groups and local governments.

Chris Wendell, Badger mayor, was on hand to see if REAP funding could assist his community in upgrading Knudson Park.

Wendell said the park needs landscaping, upgraded restrooms and new playground equipment. Tammie Krausman, the state’s REAP coordinator, told Wendell that playground equipment is generally not approved for REAP dollars, but other improvements would fall under appropriate spending, especially landscaping with native vegetation, restoring restrooms and new park signs.

Wendell said he was encouraged with what he heard. “It’s nice to see there are programs and other sources to get money to help with programs,” he said.

Gipp told the assembly that REAP, now in its 22nd year, “has been very successful. That’s why it’s gone well past its original 10 years as set by the Legislature.”

A total of $15.86 million of matching REAP funds has been spent in District 5. Gipp said that means almost $32 million in total environmental and conservation improvements have been made in the district as a result of REAP.

Contact Larry Kershner at 573-2141 or kersh@farm-news.com

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