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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Benefits of SWP Initiative and CEAP Project Research
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BENEFITS OF THE SOURCE WATER PROTECTION INITIATIVE AND CONSERVATION EFFECTS ASSESSMENT PROJECT RESEARCH

 

The Source Water Protection Initiative and the Conservation Effects Assessment Project research being conducted by the Soil Drainage Research Unit addresses the following issues:   

  • Rural and urban drinking water supplies are often threatened by agricultural practices.  Increased levels of nutrients and pesticides in drinking water represent significant health risks. 
  • Benefit:  Identify which practices are the most effective in reducing nutrient and pesticide loadings to drinking water sources.   
  • Millions of dollars are spent each year on conservation practices intended to reduce the effects of agriculture on the environment.
  • Benefit:  Identify the most effective conservation practices so tax payer dollars can be directed towards the practices that provide the greatest benefits.     
  • The majority of streams within the midwestern United States have been negatively impacted by drainage practices to facilitate the draining of excess water from agricultural fields.
  • Benefit:  Identify ways of managing streams providing needed drainage for agricultural production and improving the ecological health to meet Clean Water Act mandates.   
  • Freely available research data is needed to enable the advancement of science because it allows new and novel research questions to be addressed.  Freely available research data is also a way of providing a visible product of American taxpayer dollars. 
  • Benefit:  Research data will be available to the public via the STEWARDS data server. 
  • Farmers are often distrustful of the results of environmental assessments conducted by regulatory agencies. 
  • Benefit:  Provide a needed independent source of information on the effects of agricultural practices that will assist with increasing the adoption of effective best management practices.  
  •  Local watershed groups, Soil and Water Conservation districts, NGOs, and other state/federal agencies in the midwestern United States are often forced to make management decisions without adequate information to weight the costs and benefits. 
  • Benefit:  Provide information that enable informed decisions about the management of natural resources in rural areas.

Last Modified: 3/27/2008
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