If you’re looking for a little sanity after this wild election season, look no farther than the Iowa Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund Amendment, which passed by more than 63% yesterday. Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources has been chronically underfunded, the victim of a legislature that often blames it for basic sins like enforcing the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. A major coalition effort over the last few years got a constitutional amendment on the ballot that, now passed into law, will provide an estimated $150 million annually the next time the legislature passes a sales tax increase. Funding will support:
- Natural resources: 23 percent would be allocated to state parks, state forests, state preserves, wildlife areas and other.
- Soil conservation and water protection: 20 percent would be used for soil conservation and watershed protection
- Watershed protection: 14 percent would be used to help preserve watersheds
- Resource Enhancement and Protection Program: 13 percent of the revenue would be used for natural, cultural, and recreational resources parks, trails, museums, and roadside beautification.
- Local conservation partnership: 13 percent would be handed out to local communities for areas pertaining to outdoor and recreation
- Trails: 10 percent would go to outdoor trails for recreational use.
- Lake restoration: 7 percent would go to public lake restoration around the state.