Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced recently that 10 grants totaling more than $3.8 million have been awarded for research, education and extension projects to improve the quantity and quality of water resources across the country. Funding will be used to provide research and educational materials and programs, coordination of university-based water-quality and monitoring programs and to develop an information network focused on environmental pathogens.

“Water quality issues are a priority for USDA and our nation,” said Veneman. “These projects will increase our understanding of the causes and solutions to critical water quality issues.”

The projects will begin this year and are expected to last through 2007.

“We are pleased that two of these awards were made to tribal community colleges to improve coordination among tribal colleges and that they address invasive aquatic species in wetlands,” said USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, Joseph J. Jen. “These awards demonstrate the growing capacity of the tribal college system and its effort to address critical natural resource issues.”

The list of awards includes:

$390,000 to the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island to continue coordination of volunteer university-based water quality monitoring programs;

$300,000 to Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana for coordination of water quality programs at tribal colleges and universities;

$300,000 to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana to establish an information network focused on environmental pathogens;

$300,000 to Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College in Hayward, Wisconsin for educational efforts to reduce the impacts of invasive plants in wetlands;

$272,000 to the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland to develop educational materials for water quality issues targeting the nursery and landscape industry;

$269,000 to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa to develop educational programs linked to performance-based water quality programs;

$580,000 to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas to study phosphorous movement in soils and waters of the North Bosque and Leon Rivers, Texas;

$580,000 to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana to provide research and educational materials on drainage management to improve water quality in the Midwest; $495,000 to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado to investigate solutions to the salinity issues of the Upper Arkansas River basin, and $580,000 to the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia to investigate linkages between low levels of dissolved oxygen and overall water quality in the coastal plain of Georgia.

The National Integrated Water Quality Program is administered through the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service.