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REAP Public Participation
REAP is special to Iowa --- and its many public involvement opportunities are some of the reasons that it is. As an Iowan --- you have several opportunities to help make the program all that it can be.
What makes Iowa's REAP program unique from other similar efforts throughout the country is its many opportunities for people to get involved. Whether you have very specific or very broad interests in resource enhancement and protection, there are places in REAP's public participation elements for you to make a difference.
The incorporation of public participation methods into REAP is a natural. After all, REAP was designed by a coalition of private conservation organizations and state legislators. Built-in public involvement assures that these and other organizations and individuals can continue to have an influence on REAP. The REAP pioneers realized that ongoing, active public support will be needed for the program to receive significant state funding in years to come. Because people throughout Iowa are actively involved in REAP, a sense of ownership has grown among them and they have a vested interest in seeing it succeed.
The ultimate REAP public participant is one who:
Has a Natural Resources License Plate
Is active on a County REAP Committee,
Attends REAP Assemblies,
Is a REAP Congress delegate,
Is in at least one of the REAP Alliance membership organizations,
and does not miss an opportunity to chat with neighbors and local leaders about the impact of REAP.
REAP contains very extensive public participation procedures. 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. The level of activeness varies among counties in the state. Some are very active, while others may only meet once a year.
The next level of public participation is regional REAP Assemblies. These are open public meetings where all REAP programs and associated projects are presented. Also, opportunities for regional REAP projects are identified at these meetings and participants may recommend changes to REAP policies, programs, and funding. A round of 18 assemblies is held once every two years during the months of September and October. The area of interest for each assembly coincides with the state's Council of Governments or Regional Planning boundaries.
The next and final level is the REAP Congress. Five delegates are elected at each of the 18 assemblies to serve on the statewide Congress, which makes for a membership of 90 people. The REAP Congress meets on even-numbered calendar years. The responsibilities of the congress are to organize, discuss, and make recommendations to the Governor, state legislature, and state agencies. The Congress uses the suggestions made at the 18 assemblies to help form its recommendations.
Tammie Krausman, REAP Coordinator
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Wallace State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319