How to Start a REAP County Committee
If you notice that your county does not have a contact for a county committee, check with your county conservation board, or board of supervisors to see if they know of an existing REAP county committee, and if they know who the contact is. If there is one, please contact the REAP Coordinator so it can be added to the list.
If you want to be a part of an existing county committee, simply contact the listed person to find out when the next meeting is, and ask if you can be of help.
If there is no existing county committee, and you want to help begin one, explain this to the office of your county board of supervisors. You can mention that your county should have such a committee, according to the Code of Iowa, 455A.20. They should be agreeable to work with you in your endeavor. Why would they be agreeable, you might ask? For one thing, "money" -- lots of it -- is one of the reasons.
Since 1990, REAP has spent $41.4 million on just city and county conservation board grants throughout Iowa. Those grants have required REAP county committee signatures before they could be funded. If a city in your county, or your county conservation board is seeking a grant, they must have a REAP county committee review and sign it. But, there are other good reasons for a REAP county committee; see county committee duties.
4 Simple Steps to Begin
- Call, email, write, or visit in person with potential members who are residents of your county (view Committee Membership) to see if some of them would like to help you get started. Use this first small group to collect names and addresses of who you want to invite to the first full meeting, plus prepare an invitation and an agenda for that first full meeting. (Don't forget to invite your local DNR employee.)
Good reasons to help you convince others to join in starting a committee:
- They can learn more about how to get money from REAP to finance local conservation or outdoor recreation projects in their community or on their farm.
- They can work with others to develop REAP projects.
- They will be assured there is a committee available to sign off on their particular grant request so it can be considered for funding.
- Working on the REAP committee is one of the best ways to have a voice and make a difference in conservation and outdoor recreation activities in your county.
- Communicating the benefits from REAP to other citizens in the counties will help assure better, long-term funding for REAP.
- Here is an example of an invitation letter and an agenda you can use, or modify, for that first meeting. Whether you have 3 or 23 people attending, at least you have begun the process. Important people on your invitation list will be any of those who have spent REAP funds in your county.
- REAP spending history in your county.
- You can order a supply of REAP brochures to include in your invitations by contacting the REAP Coordinator.
- Consider meeting at a county or other public office that is centrally located to most of the population in your county. It is easier for most people to attend in the early evening of a weekday. It is good to plan the meeting for no longer than 1 to 1 ½ hours.
- Download a PowerPoint template ( *.ppt file, 16MB) that you can adapt to fit your county which explains the basic parts of REAP. It might be good to use at your first meeting, but to make it really work, you will need to add some digital photos of local REAP projects, and modify the narrative to fit your needs.
- Beginning work on the 5-year county REAP plan is easy, too, particularly if the right people attend your meeting.
- Still stuck? A little overwhelmed? Contact the REAP Coordinator or your county conservation board or soil and water conservation district.