Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding 26 grants for research, education and Extension efforts that will help to inform science-based decision-making on water-related issues in communities across the United States.
The grants, totaling $13.4 million, are split into two major categories: 17 grants will support integrated research, education and Extension work to improve the quality of the nation’s surface and groundwater resources in agricultural, rural and urbanizing watersheds; and nine research grants will address critical water resource issues, including drought preparedness and water reuse in agriculture. The grants are funded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
In the first category, 17 grants totaling more than $9 million were awarded by NIFA through the National Integrated Water Quality Program (NIWQP), which aims to solve water resource problems by advancing scientific knowledge about water quality.
Funded projects also use the new knowledge gained to develop and disseminate science-based decision making and management practices that improve the surface and groundwater quality in the nation’s watersheds.
Additionally, in Fiscal Year 2011, NIFA, in cooperation with USDA’s Farm Service Agency, solicited proposals for three interrelated projects that address nitrogen cycling in agricultural watersheds. All three projects funded through this special emphasis area are expected to work collaboratively in developing solutions for improving water quality.
USDA contributed information for this article.