Fields in central California (western San Joaquin Valley) suffering from severe salinization
Repairing critical deferred maintenance including replacing research greenhouse mechanical systems and replacement of chiller.
May 2010 - Construction contract awarded for $613,000 to replace the research greenhouse mechanical systems at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Citrus and Dates and to replace the chiller at the U.S. Salinity Laboratory.
Research at the United States Salinity Laboratory
The United States Salinity Laboratory studies the movement of waters and salts in irrigated cropping systems to develop ways to keep salt from building up in agricultural soil or to improve crop production in areas where salinity is building up.
Scientists at the Salinity Laboratory have found a natural way to keep land productive and reduce environmental problems in California's Central Valley. The valley's lack of rainfall makes irrigation a necessity, and its clay soils prevent irrigation water from seeping into aquifers. Farmers create evaporation ponds to catch excess runoff from irrigated fields, but these evaporation ponds can contain salts, and also take land out of production. Researchers found that planting bermudagrass and irrigating it with the drainage water reduces the need for the ponds and provides forage for livestock.
A cyclical strategy has been devised by the Salinity Lab where good quality water is only used for growth of saline-sensitive crops and during sensitive growth stages of other crops, while saline drainage water is used for the growth of tolerant crops or during tolerant growth stages. Reuse strategies advocated by the Salinity Laboratory have served as models for numerous reuse plans in other locations around the world. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Resources Agency have adopted minimized leaching and drainage water reuse concepts pioneered at the laboratory, to conserve water, minimize drainage volumes, and protect water quality as the heart of the San Joaquin Valley Drainage Program.
National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Citrus and Dates
The Repository conserves and makes available to researchers and producers the seeds and other genetic materials needed to protect the U.S. supply of citrus crops and date palms. These resources preserve our Nation's agricultural heritage and protect the future of agriculture.
Research Units at the Salinity Lab
Contaminant Fate and Transport Unit
The mission of the Contaminant Fate and Transport Unit is to develop methods for evaluating, predicting, and managing the movement of contaminants and solutes (e.g., water, salts, agricultural chemicals and microorganisms) in the root and vadose zones of arid-region soils; and to develop new knowledge, methods and tools for assessing soil-water-crop management strategies to make effective use of limited resources.
Major emphasis of current research:
Water Reuse and Remediation Unit
The mission of the Water Reuse and Remediation Unit is to develop the necessary knowledge and management practices for sustainable and economic plant production using saline water or salt affected soils while conserving water and soil resources.
The specific objectives of the research program are to:
Research at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Citrus & Dates
The mission of the National Germplasm Repository for Citrus and Dates is to collect, maintain, evaluate, preserve, and distribute germplasm of citrus, dates, and related Aurantioideae genera and Phoenix species.
The achievement of this goal involves:
Project Photographs During Construction