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USDA Awards More Than $10 Million in Water Resource Projects

Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer today announced that USDA has awarded more than $10 million through the National Integrated Water Quality Program (NIWQP) to address critical water resource issues, including water quality protection and water conservation.

The NIWQP supports research, education and extension projects and programs that address critical water resource issues in agricultural, rural and urbanizing watersheds. These projects reflect the growing need to combine knowledge from biological and physical sciences with social and economic sciences to address complex water issues. The NIWQP focuses on addressing water issues at the watershed scale.

Projects funded by the NIWQP are outcome-oriented, aiming to increase awareness and change behaviors related to water resource management. Funded projects include efforts to develop an undergraduate curriculum to address ecohydrology (the study of how water and plants and animals affect each other) at the watershed scale; extension efforts to address livestock manure issues impacting water quality; and integrated research, education and extension projects to explore the effects of drought and lawn irrigation on water availability.

Fiscal Year 2008 NIWQP national and watershed scale grants were awarded to:

  • Alabama A&M University, $521,222: Cumulative effects of drought and urbanization on the Flint River watershed ecosystem; integrated research, education and extension.
  • University of Arizona, $345,000: Assessing and managing the health risks of irrigation water in the lower Colorado River basin.
  • Humboldt State University (CA), $620,000: Conservation of surface and ground water in a Western watershed experiencing rapid loss of irrigated agricultural land to development.
  • University of Hawai’i, $475,000: Design and evaluation of precision vegetative buffer strips as sustainable conservation management practice to control non-point source pollution in Hawaiian watersheds.
  • Iowa State University, $230,000: Developing local leadership and extension capacity for performance-driven agricultural environmental management.
  • Kansas State University, $600,000: Modifying homeowner's lawn-irrigation behavior to conserve water and improve water quality in urbanizing watersheds.
  • University of Maine, $555,000: The role of social capital, trust and learning in solving groundwater quality and quantity issues in the Northeast with citizen science.
  • Michigan State University, $230,000: Extension staffs from 10 Upper Midwest states team up for water quality for small and medium livestock farms.
  • University of Nevada, $175,000: Undergraduate education; watershed-focused field studies in ecohydrology for arid rangeland management.
  • The Ohio State University, $640,000: Watershed scale evaluation in a tri-state region of the water quality benefits of self-forming and two-stage channel systems.
  • The Ohio State University, $390,000: Designing watershed-based education and extension efforts through a mental models research approach.
  • University of Rhode Island $380,000: Moving the Extension Volunteer Monitoring Network to the next level; a national water resources project.
  • University of Vermont, $240,000: Improving agricultural pollution control through performance-based incentives in the Choptank River watershed of the Chesapeake Bay.


The 2008 awards also include regional water resource projects that continue funding for a national network of outcome-focused projects addressing state and local water resource issues.
The FY 2008 NIWQP regional water resource grants were awarded to:

  • Colorado State University, $590,000: Coordinated regional water resources programming for the Northern Plains and Mountains region.
  • University of Idaho, $585,000: Coordination, development and delivery of water resource programs in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Iowa State University, $570,000: Heartland Regional Water Coordination Initiative.
  • University of Maryland, $600,000: Mid-Atlantic Water Program.
  • University of Rhode Island, $1,080,000: The Northeast States and Caribbean Islands Regional Water Resource Program.
  • Texas A&M University, $1,250,000: The Southern Region Water Resource Project.
  • University of Wisconsin, $600,000: Continuing support for the Great Lakes region; a regional water resource project for North Central States in USEPA Region 5.


Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, CSREES focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit