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NEWS RELEASE

USDA Awards $3.4 Million in Nutrient Water Quality Grants

Marti Asner (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26, 2002 --Agriculture Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Joseph Jen today announced $3.4 million in grants for research and community outreach projects to address nutrient related water quality issues in rural and agricultural watersheds.

The projects were funded through a joint program sponsored by USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"USDA's joint program with EPA demonstrates our mutual commitment to protecting our Nation's water resources," said Jen. "These projects integrate research and community outreach to address locally defined water quality problems."

Scientists will work closely with farmers, ranchers and community leaders to address local water quality issues. The grants were awarded to the following universities:

ARKANSAS

The University of Arkansas, Fayettville, $686,000-The award will be used to investigate the mechanisms that cause algae to build up and pollute a lake used for recreation and as a major municipal water supply.

FLORIDA

The University of Florida, $645,000-The award will be used to reduce surface and groundwater pollution by developing computer visualizations that show the movement of nutrients through the soil and shallow groundwater.

LOUISIANA

Louisiana State University, $696,000-The grant will be used to explore how flow diversions in the lower Mississippi River can be used to decrease nutrients entering the Gulf of Mexico where excess nutrients contribute to hypoxia in the Gulf.

NEW YORK

The State University of New York, Brockport, $668,000-The funding will be used to investigate how changes in Best Management Practices may reduce the pollution and excess algae growth in local lakes.

OHIO

Ohio State University, $690,000-The award will help Ohio State researchers evaluate how draining ditches alter the rate and quantity of nutrients transported from agricultural watersheds to receiving water bodies.

For more information about CSREES's water quality program, please visit http://www.usawaterquality.org.