Monitor Water Quality Wins Top Award
By Don Comis
September 29, 2004
A research proposal to use a
computer model to estimate soil and water quality and wildlife habitats has won
the Agricultural Research Service's T.W. Edminster Research Associate Award for
ARS agricultural engineer Jeffrey G.
Arnold has won the award for his proposal to use his Soil and Water Assessment
Tool (SWAT) computer model to
estimate soil and water quality and wildlife habitat benefits as part of a
national assessment of 2002 Farm Bill programs. Congress mandated the five-year
assessment, called the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP).
Arnold's was the top-ranked proposal for the 2005 ARS Postdoctoral Research
Associate Program. Arnold will receive $120,000 in funding over two years to
support a postdoctoral scientist to use SWAT in collaboration with ARS
scientists responsible for modeling 12 CEAP "benchmark" watersheds.
Arnold developed the SWAT model along with fellow engineer Kevin W. King and
agronomist James R. Kiniry at the ARS Grassland Soil and Water Research
Laboratory in Temple, Texas. King has since transferred to the ARS
Soil Drainage Research
Unit in Columbus, Ohio, where he will use SWAT to document conservation
benefits on the nearby Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed. The watershed research
and monitoring will provide more detailed information and help refine the model
for use with the national assessment.
ARS officials evaluated 450 proposals and selected 49 others to each receive
$100,000 in funding over two years for research to help solve agricultural,
nutritional and environmental problems. Other winning proposals include a human
nutrition study on the effects of a sensible high-protein weight loss plan on
the risk of osteoporosis, the development of a model for the study of
resistance to soybean rust disease before it possibly enters the United States,
and a determination of the effects of high CO2 levels on soil microbes and
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.