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News Release

NRCS Announces $1.9 Million Investment in Collaborative Research

Shovel in dirt

University of Wyoming has 2 of the 15 Projects Selected to Advance NRCS’ Soil Science Capacity

CASPER, Wyo., August 16, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) yesterday announced $1.9 million in funding for 15 Soil Science Collaborative Research projects focused on soil science and soil survey research.

The information gained from the collaborative research will advance NRCS’ ability to provide scientifically based soil and ecosystem information to help address important natural resources issues facing our nation.

“NRCS is investing in universities across the country to leverage their scientific knowledge and expertise to support our conservation mission.,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “By engaging a diverse group of scholars through research, we can identify innovative solutions and technological advancements that will increase our contributions to both science and society.”

Now in its 12th year, the current Soil Science Collaborative Research projects were selected from among 32 applications. Projects were selected based on nationally identified needs in communities and landscapes.

The University of Wyoming has two projects through this research program:

1. A 3-D virtual reality experience that will transport users to ecosystems that cannot be easily visited. The modules will be used to engage users to investigate a variety of ecosystems and link the effects of above and underground processes on the landscape. This allows us to teach and show others in ways we haven’t been able to before.

2. Utilize existing soil data to develop models of wet soil indicators to examine soil physical and biogeochemical properties. Collection and analysis of these data will improve our understanding of features created as a result of saturated conditions in the soil.

NRCS will also fund research projects at Alcorn State University, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Colorado State University, Kansas State University, New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, Purdue University, University of Arizona, University of California, University of Massachusetts, University of Tennessee, University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley, and Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

A detailed description of the projects is available online.

The information accumulated from these annual projects has helped NRCS develop integrated technical tools and information to assist planners and land managers in predicting and assessing soil health, ecosystem and landscape sustainability and the implementation of sustainable management systems.

“NRCS is a world leader in soil research,” said Dave Hoover, director of the NRCS National Soil Survey Center. “This prioritized investment in science-based tools will develop innovative data sharing and information delivery tools and products to reach multiple stakeholders around the world from underserved audiences to the most technically advanced.”

NRCS accepts proposals once a year. Interested researchers can learn more on the Soils Research Page.

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