The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Pesticide and Fertilizer Management Division announced $1.05 million in funding available for research related to quantifying agricultural contributions to impaired waters and for development and evaluation of best management practices to protect and restore water resources while maintaining agricultural productivity.
Any organization, research entity or individual can apply for these funds, with proposals due by December 9.
The following are research priorities, in no particular order, says MDA:
-Investigate the relationship between agricultural drainage systems (surface and subsurface) and impaired waters with the use of new or existing pilot projects. Studies may be supported by computer models but should not exclusively rely on a modeling approach.
Questions of particular interest include: How do drainage systems impact water quality and crop productivity from field to watershed/drainage system? What are the water quality effects of conservation drainage practices such as: side inlet controls; alternative tile intakes; buffers at side inlet or tile intake locations; managed subsurface drainage; woodchip bioreactors; storage basins; drainage ditch management; drainage system design? What are the combined effects of multiple or suites of conservation drainage practices? What is the cost effectiveness of conservation drainage practices, including installation, operation, and maintenance; impacts on crop and livestock productivity; and barriers to and incentives/resources for adoption?
-Develop, improve and evaluate practices on crop and livestock operations that address excess nutrients, fecal coliform bacteria/E. coli, herbicides and turbidity in agricultural watersheds, including practices related to nutrient and pesticide management, manure management, and runoff and erosion control.
The contract period begins in January of 2012 and may extend up to 5 years through fiscal year 2016.
To request proposal instructions, contact:
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Adam Birr, Impaired Water Technical Coordinator
625 Robert Street North
St. Paul, MN 55155-2538
For more information about MDA's Clean Water Research Program and supported research projects, please visit MDA's Clean Water Fund website, www.mda.state.mn.us/protecting/cleanwaterfund/cwfresearch.aspx