USDA Announces More than $11 Million in Water Quality Grants
More than $11 million in grants will be awarded to universities
nationwide to address water supply and water quality issues in rural,
agricultural and urbanizing watersheds, Acting Agriculture Secretary
Chuck Conner announced on Oct. 10. Highlighted among these grants are
two projects that address bioenergy production and water resource
"As we move forward in developing our capacity to produce biofuels,
we must understand the impacts on our natural resources," Conner said.
"These studies will help government, industry and farmers and ranchers
make the most environmentally sound and sustainable choices to produce
The two projects, funded by the USDA's Cooperative State Research,
Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), take unique approaches to
addressing bioenergy development.
Investigators at Washington State University will explore the
impacts of irrigating switchgrass for bioenergy development. The
project will test long-lived, water-efficient perennial grasses for
biofuel production to supplement the nation's energy supply, saving
water for human, food and other societal needs.
At the University of Wisconsin, investigators are attempting to
address the environmental and economic impacts of an emerging
bio-economy in 14 Midwest states. Their efforts focus on how best to
provide a research-based understanding of the issues and provide a
robust outreach program that engages communities and key stakeholder
interests in appropriate decision making that respects local economies
and the environment.
CSREES funded these grants through its National Integrated Water
Quality Program (NIWQP). The NIWQP program includes regional and
national water quality coordination projects, along with
watershed-scale projects to support combined agricultural research,
extension and education activities. Funded projects lead to
science-based decision making and management practices that improve the
quality of the nation's surface water and groundwater resources in
agricultural, rural and urbanizing watersheds