Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded more than $11 million through the National Integrated Water Quality Program to address critical water resource issues including water quality protection and water conservation. According to Vilsack this research will play a vital role in understanding the part water plays in the ecosystem and developing tools and strategies to effectively manage water resources.
The National Integrated Water Quality Program supports research, education and extension projects and programs that address critical water resource issues in agricultural, rural and urban 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.
Funded projects in Fiscal Year 2009 include a project that evaluates the impacts of bioenergy development on water resources, four projects that develop tools to improve the effectiveness of conservation practices to achieve water quality goals by targeting critical areas and key individuals that offer the greatest opportunity to improve water quality, and efforts to develop a framework to revamp youth education about water issues.