Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced Wednesday that USDA is awarding over $2.5 million to five universities to study the effectiveness and practical application of conservation practices at the watershed level. Researchers and extension specialists will also study the environmental and economic impacts of watershed conservation practices.
Each project has research and extension components that examine conservation practices such as tillage, nutrient management, pest management, conservation buffers and water management. The projects will be funded by the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.
As part of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project, research and extension investigators will work with producers, local and state agencies, and other natural resource managers to determine which conservation practices to install, when and where to do so, what impact the practices would have, and how to maintain them.
USDA awarded the following five fiscal year 2006 grants:
- Kansas State University, $650,000. "Assessing the Impact of a Strategic Approach to Implementation of Conservation Practices."
- Oregon State University, $640,000. "Assessing Trade-Offs Between Crop Production and Ecological Services: The Calapooia Basin."
- Pennsylvania State University, $640,000. "Analysis of BMP Implementation Performance and Maintenance in Spring Creek, an Agriculturally-Influenced Watershed in Pennsylvania."
- Purdue University, $650,000. "Watershed-Scale Evaluation of BMP Effectiveness and Acceptability: Eagle Creek Watershed, Indiana."
- University of Nebraska - Lincoln, $180,272. "Effectiveness of Irrigated Crop Management Practices in Reducing Groundwater Nitrate Concentrations." Pending the availability of funds in FY 2007, this project will receive an additional $459,728.