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The Natural Resource Commission of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources approved eight Resource Enhancement and Protection grants to County Conservation Boards during its October meeting. The grants totaled $1.29 million. There were 17 applications for the grants.
REAP County Conservation grants are available to counties that have dedicated at least 22¢ per $1,000 of the assessed value of taxable property in the county for county conservation purposes.
REAP County Grants
· Buchanan County, Roberts Wildlife Area – Wapsi Corridor Connection, $185,500- This project will acquire 110 acres of forest, forested wetlands, upland grassland and Wapsipinicon River shoreline to provide key connections to existing public land in Black Hawk and Buchanan counties. Acquiring this piece of the habitat puzzle will result in 512 acres of contiguous public land in the Wapsipinicon River Corridor Public Waters Area.
· Des Moines County, Linder Recreation Area Acquisition, $250,000 - This project will acquire 104.8 acres consisting of high quality oak hickory woodland, remnant prairie pasture, CRP grassland and crop that provides documented habitat for the state and endangered Indiana Bat and threatened northern long-eared bat, as well as four additional Iowa bat species of greatest conservation need.
· Fayette County, Turkey River Recreation Trail Expansion – Elgin to Gilbertson Park and the Turkey River, $100,000 - This project will construct 6,600 linear feet of concrete recreational trail and a pretension, pre-stressed beam pedestrian bridge over the Turkey River. The project will extend the Turkey River Recreational Corridor Trail, allowing users to move safely between Elgin and Gilbertson Park. It will connect to three existing trails: a 4.8 mile trail from Elgin to Clermont and the Nims Bridge, 2.5 miles of trails in Clermont and 7 miles of trails in Gilbertson Park.
· Butler County, West Fork Forest Access Area Expansion, $190,700 - This projects aims to acquire approximate 96.87 acres adjacent to the Butler County Conservation Board's West Fork Forest Access Area. With these acquisitions the West Fork Forest Access Area would become a 204-acre public use area. The area will be used for a variety of activates including but not limited to public hunting, fishing, hiking, nature and bird watching.
· Black Hawk County, Beck’s Forest Acquisition - $22,500 - This project will acquire 15 acres of floodplain forest located along the banks of the Cedar River in north central Black Hawk County. This parcel will be an addition to the Cedar River Wildlife Area and Black Hawk Park totaling more than 1,400 acres of public land. This property will provide outdoor recreation opportunities, watershed protection and critical habitat for wood turtles.
· Dickinson County, Milford Creek Wildlife Area - $75,600 - This project will acquire 35 acres of prairie and grassland surrounding nearly a half mile of Milford Creek. The property is located just south of the town of Milford; such close proximity for residents makes it an invaluable community resource for recreation and outdoor space to enjoy Iowa’s natural beauty. Milford Creek Wildlife Area will provide an opportunity to expand county conservation land protection and programming.
· Mitchell County, Hoffman Recreation Area Addition - $356,384 - This project will acquire 85 acres of CRP, upland and riparian forest, season oxbow wetlands and a calciferous fen. The property serves as the connection between two county areas: Otranto Park and Nelson’s Paradise Wildlife Area. In addition to the diverse flora and fauna, there are two Native American burial mounds confirmed in 2016 by the Office of the State Archeologist.
· Polk County, Jester Park Nature Center Outdoor Streamscape - $114,205 - This project will construct the Outdoor Streamscape – an area of outdoor play for youth and families featuring introductory trails, outdoor plaza, nature features and a significant meandering waterway consisting of The Headwaters, The Braided Stream and Falls and The Wetlands. This streamscape will also serve to treat water from the roof and parking lots.