USDA grants to fund water quality research across U.S.

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2012 -- USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is providing $13.4 million in research grants to support 26 water-related projects across the United States.

The grants are split into two major categories. The first, awarded by NIFA's National Integrated Water Quality Program (NIWQP), comprises 17 grants totaling more than $9 million. These 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. Projects include:

* Cal Poly Corporation, San Luis Obispo, Calif., $234,865
* Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., $365,000
* Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., $149,000
* Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., $17,000
* University of Delaware, Newark, Del., $595,000
* University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $398,800
* University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $395,000
* University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., $567,000
* University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Ill., $595,000
* Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $395,000
* Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $595,000
* Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., $570,000
* Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Miss., $445,000
* Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont., $598,500
* North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., $595,000
* University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., $2,400,000
* University of Rhode Island, Kingstown, R.I., $495,000

In the second category, nine grants totaling $4.4 million were awarded by NIFA through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Agricultural Water Sciences foundational program. These projects reflect the growing need to reduce the impacts of more frequent and intense droughts and provide alternative sources of water for irrigated agriculture and other agricultural uses under conditions of shrinking water availability. Projects include:

* University of California, Riverside, Calif., $500,000
* Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colo., $499,815
* University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $486,451
* University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, $499,912
* Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $492,797
* Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $495,888,
* University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb., $500,000
* Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $498,649,
* Texas A& M University, College Station, Texas, $496,335

"American communities and rural areas depend upon a safe and reliable water supply," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. "These research projects will help farmers, ranchers and community leaders enhance local economies and environments in agricultural and rural communities. At the same time, drought preparedness and the consideration of novel sources of water will help cities, communities and rural areas across the nation and around the globe adapt to the effects of changing climate on water quality and quantity and better understand water's role in agro-ecosystems."

For more information about NIFA and its programs, visit www.nifa.usda.gov.

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