The Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program provides funding to the Division to work with soil and water conservation districts to address local water quality protection needs. The principal objective of the Water Quality Protection program is to protect water quality in Iowa by targeting and preventing off-site sediment, nutrient and livestock waste pollution problems. This program complements the cost share program’s objectives to control soil erosion and protect land productivity.
Each year, funds from the Soil and Water Enhancement Account are allocated to water quality protection projects Funds are allocated to 100 soil and water conservation districts equally across the state to address water quality protection problems of local significance.
Authorized in Iowa Code Sections 455A.19.c and 161C.4, 25% of the practice funds are used to support the establishment of trees and native vegetation for land resource enhancement and water quality protection. The remaining 75% can be used in the following ways within designated priority watersheds:
Land use conversion practices convert row crops to permanent vegetation for buffer establishment, stream bank stabilization, or other permanent cover applications
Traditional erosion control practices where those practices are installed to protect high priority public water resources, or where those practices address priority water quality problems such as sinkholes
Livestock waste management systems for water resource protection
Voluntary agricultural drainage well closure
Storm water practices
Fund allocations are made to soil and water conservation districts, commissioners set priorities for their use, and field office staff assure the technical quality of practices built. These practices are also subject to maintenance agreements.