UMES Chesapeake Water Quality Center receives half-million dollar USDA grant | University of Maryland Eastern Shore Marketing Retarget Pixel

UMES Chesapeake Water Quality Center receives half-million dollar USDA grant

  • Dr. Arthur AllenThe University of Maryland Eastern Shore just received a major boost to its Chesapeake Water Quality Center from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.  The Center received nearly a half-million dollar NRCS grant to “enhance knowledge regarding use of standard metrics to assess soil health,” particularly for agricultural land management.”

    “As interest in soil health management continues to increase, so does the need for consistent, replicable, scientifically sound indicators and associated data that will allow for the assessment of how agricultural management practices are affecting soil health over time,” said Dr. Arthur Allen, principal investigator for the grant and director of UMES’ Chesapeake Water Quality Center. 

    The grant, Allen said, will fund a project titled, “Dynamic Soil Properties for Soil Health Assessment,” over the next two years to collaborate with the NRCS and Alabama A&M University researchers.  They will assess the accuracy, repeatability and usefulness of standard soil health metrics on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and areas in Northern Alabama for three benchmark soils and dominant land management systems.Dr. Allen water quality

    “Any robust set of indicators and associated data collection, sometimes referred to as a “soil health monitoring network,” must also provide usefulness and compatibility across multiple regions, soils and management systems,” Allen said.  Research through the new agreement will build on the NRCS’ existing national soils database, including water sampling design, field sampling protocols and linking the research to soil maps. 

    Allen’s colleagues, Drs. Fawzy Hashem and Amy Collick, will help oversee the project at UMES where they will identify sampling sites, coordinate accurate field sampling and supervise various laboratory analyses.  The grant provides a stipend for a graduate and undergraduate students’ involvement in the project.  Collick will also compile, organize and manage datasets for the project that will be shared with the NRCS’ soil survey program’s laboratory.

    “Dr. Allen’s water quality research team is to be commended for their efforts and for building a relationship with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to continue these critical research activities,” said Dr. Moses T. Kairo, dean of UMES’ School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences.  “The information and knowledge that will come out of the project will be of value to the NRCS and the holistic soil science and agricultural communities.”

     

    Gail Stephens, agricultural communications and media associate, School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 410-621-3850, gcstephens@umes.edu.