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Iowa's natural resources plates include the state bird and flower, pheasant, eagle, buck and a Brook trout. Support conservation in Iowa by buying a natural resource plate for your vehicle.
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Following is a list of the programs the DNR administers with a brief description of each. The link will take you to a separate page with more detailed information.
All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Grant Program
The State of Iowa administers a grant program for the acquisition and development of All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) trails. This program is funded from the vehicle registration fees. Fees are placed into an account and can be used for the development of riding areas, trail maintenance, equipment purchases, operation and maintenance of sites and equipment, insurance, and land acquisition.
Bluffland Protection Revolving Loan Fund
Organizations meeting the definition of conservation organization are eligible to receive loans from the fund for the purchase of bluffland properties adjacent to state-owned public lands.
Fish Habitat Promotion for County Conservation Boards
This program is a 90% cost share grant open to all county conservation boards for the development of fish habitat or acquisition of land to be used for fish habitat development purposes. Examples of eligible project activities are placement of fish habitats in ponds, lakes, pits and streams; armoring of lakes; construction of aeration systems; dredging; construction of ponds and lakes; repair of dams and outlets; manipulation of fish populations and aquatic vegetation. Project sites must be under the physical control of the applicant, either by fee title, lease, management agreement or easement.
Iowa Water Trails Mini Grants
Provides money to water trail developers (county conservation boards, cities, non-profits) to support projects to establish water trails. Water trails enhance recreational experiences for all water recreation enthusiasts. Efforts often involve canoeists and kayakers.
Low-head Dam Public Hazard Program
The Low-Head Dam Public Hazard Program is intended to reduce accidents at dams. Cost-share funds are available to all owners of dams on navigable streams through cost-sharing at a minimum of 50 percent cost to the project sponsor to mitigate hazards at low-head dams through warning signage, portage trail construction, and modifications to or removals of low-head dams.
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
The LWCF Grant Program is a federal grant program that provides funds to incorporated cities and county conservation boards in the form of 50% reimbursement grants. Grants require a 50% match. Assistance ceilings have been established by population. Eligible projects include acquisition and/or development of land for outdoor recreation. Renovation of existing facilities is also eligible.
National LWCF Competitive Grant: Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) Program
Fifth Grant Round of the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) Program Preapplications are due August 23, 2021 The purpose of this grant opportunity is to target and fund projects what will create or reinvigorate parks and other outdoor recreation spaces located in Census-delineated urbanized areas with populations of over 50,000. Selection priorities are for projects that will directly connect people to outdoor places, particularly in communities that are underserved in terms of parks and other outdoor recreation areas and have significant numbers of individuals who are economically disadvantaged; create short-term and/or permanent jobs; help stimulate local economic development; engage and empower members of the affected community in the development of the project; create or expand public-private partnerships, particularly to provide for the leveraging of resources; and rely on a high degree of coordination among the public, multiple levels of government, and the private sector, to improve recreation opportunities for all. Additionally, the project must advance goals of or otherwise meet priority recreation needs identified in Iowa’s SCORP. Outdoor recreation areas and facilities assisted through this program must be open to the general public, and may not be converted to other than public outdoor recreation uses. The DNR, as the state lead agency, may apply on behalf of local governments and Indian tribal governments who submit projects which meet the grant criteria.
Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund (aka Sustainable Funding)
In 2006, the forward thinking of our legislators to propose and support the concept of sustainable funding for Iowa's natural resources, and their request for diverse organizations to represent their Advisory Committee, was an indicator that this is an important issue for all of Iowa. The result of securing funding for natural resources will provide benefits across Iowa such as cleaner water, positive economic impacts, sustainable agriculture and soils, and outdoor recreation opportunities where Iowans can enjoy and appreciate healthy activities, nature, and Iowa's beauty.
On-Stream Impoundment Restoration Fund Grant Program This newly created restoration grant program will award funds to improve water quality and recreational opportunities on eligible on-stream impoundments throughout Iowa. Examples of eligible projects include watershed improvement practices to reduce nutrient and sediment inputs to the impoundment, dam or other infrastructure repair or maintenance, and targeted dredging. Projects funded through this competitive grant application program should ensure a cost-effective investment for the citizens of Iowa, a local community commitment to watershed protection, and improve overall water quality in the impoundment.
REAP City Parks and Open Spaces Grant Program
REAP provides money to cites through competitive grants. Three city size categories have been established to assure grants are distributed to all sizes of cities. Grants are 100%. Eligible projects include park land expansion and multi-purpose recreation development. Athletic fields, ball fields, tennis courts, golf course and other organized sport facilities as well as swimming pools and playground equipment are not eligible for funding.
REAP Conservation Education Program
The Conservation Education Program (CEP) is a key provision of the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Act of 1989. A five-member board implements the CEP and annually they allocate approximately $350,000 in grants for conservation education in Iowa.
REAP County Conservation Grant Program
100% grants are available to counties for land easements or acquisitions, capital improvements, stabilization and protection of resources, repair and upgrading of facilities, environmental education and equipment. Counties must dedicate at least 22¢ per $1,000 of assessed value of taxable property in the county to be eligible for grants.
Shooting Sports Archery and Shooting Range Grant Program
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources created the Shooting Sports Program Grant in 2012 to encourage the development and improvement of Iowa’s archery and shooting ranges offering public access. The grant program supports the Department’s Hunter Education Program, promotes safe hunting and shooting practices, provides Iowa residents with safe recreational and competition shooting ranges.
Snowmobile Trail Grant Program
Effective September 5, 2017, administration of the snowmobile grant program has been assigned to the Iowa State Snowmobile Association through a cooperative contract with the DNR. For more information about changes to the program and to find applications and guidelines, please go to http://www.iowasnowmobiler.com/.
Solid Waste Alternatives Program (SWAP)
SWAP works to reduce the amount of solid waste generated and landfilled in Iowa. Through a competitive process, financial assistance is available for a variety of projects, including source reduction, recycling and education. The program provides financial assistance in the form of forgivable loans, zero interest loans, and 3 percent interest loans. A 50 percent cost share is required through cash match and in-kind match. Projects are selected through a quarterly competitive process. Emphasis for selected projects is placed on tonnage avoided or reduced, sustainability and ability to replicate.
State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)
Many state recreation grants require that a project related to the State Conservation and Recreation Plan (SCORP).
State Revolving Fund (now hosted at IowaSRF.com)
IowaSRF.com is a one-stop shop for the information you need to use SRF financing for your water quality or drinking water project. The SRF is jointly operated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Finance Authority.
Water Recreation Access Cost-Share Program
The IDNR has a cost-sharing grant program called "Water Recreation Access Cost-Share Program" that is available for constructing or improving boat access facilities to Iowa's lakes and streams. Projects can include boat launching ramps, loading/off-loading docks and other structures to enhance use by the public.
Watershed Improvement Grants (Section 319)
The DNR offers Iowa groups looking to improve our state's streams, rivers and lakes the opportunity to apply for grants. These grants allow groups, such as Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other organizations, to create watershed projects. Watershed projects help individual Iowans make changes on the land in order to improve the quality of water entering our rivers, streams and lakes.
Wildlife Habitat With Local Entities Grant Program (Wildlife Habitat Grant)
This grant is open to county conservation boards for the acquisition of land and/or development for wildlife habitat purposes. The program will cost share up to 75% of costs. Grant recipients will not be permitted to provide public use facilities at their own expense for activities such as camping, picnicking and snowmobiling on areas acquired with WHSF funds. Other than hunting, only those activities such as fishing, hiking, nature study, cross-country skiing, etc. will be permitted.
Wildlife Diversity (non-game) Program Grants
The wildlife diversity program offers three grants programs to encourage research, habitat management and environment education that supports non-game wildlife in Iowa. These grants all have the objective of helping to fulfill the goals of Iowa's Wildlife Action Plan.