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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Benefits of SWP Initiative and CEAP Project Research
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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: 8/13/2016
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