NU Water-Related Research for Statewide Nebraska

Topic
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Christensen, Alan
Unit School of Biological Sciences
Email achristensen2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-0681
Web Page http://biosci.unl.edu/alan-c-christensen
Project Information
Title Plant Mitochondrial Transformation
Other(s) Valery Forbes, School of Biological Sciences, vforbes3@unl.edu 
Description

Plant mitochondrial genomes are surprisingly different from those of animals and fungi. They are also involved in such diverse and important processes as plant growth, flowering and seed set. A significant technological gap in the study of plant physiology and genetics is the inability to transform plant mitochondria. Although it has not been accomplished in the laboratory, horizontal gene transfer between mitochondria of different plant species is evidence that foreign DNA can be incorporated into the mitochondrial genome. A new understanding of recombination mechanisms suggests two novel approaches to the problem: using large homologous regions for targeting, or transforming a mutant defective in recombination homology surveillance. This research will enable new approaches to plant biology and biotechnology that are currently impossible. Three important phases of achieving transformation will be done. These are to engineer the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens to target introduced DNA to mitochondria, to use large regions of homology for recombination targeting, and the choice of selectable markers. This project will use multiple approaches to the selectable marker problem, including both endogenous and exogenous genes.

This project will have a tremendous impact on the research infrastructure for plant mitochondrial biology. This will dramatically open up the field to new experimental directions and new advances, both for basic biology and in agriculturally important plants. The project will involve an undergraduate research training experience in the summer, and there will be an emphasis on broadening participation. A high school student and teacher training effort at the institution will be incorporated, and the institution also sponsors an undergraduate summer internship program that will be integrated into the project.

For more information read this recent paper on plant mitochondrial genome evolution.

Project Support National Science Foundation EAGER grant
Project Website
Report
Current Status Continuing
Topic Biofuel
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Cassman, Ken
Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
Email kcassman1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-5554
Web Page http://agronomy.unl.edu/cassman
Project Information
Title A Model for Life-Cycle Energy and Emissions Analysis of Corn-Ethanol Biofuel Production Systems
Other(s) Adam Liska, Agronomy and Horticulture, aliska2@unl.edu; Haishun Yang, Agronomy and Horticulture, hyang2@unl.edu 
Description

The Biofuel Energy Systems Simulator (BESS) model is a software tool to calculate the energy efficiency, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and natural resource requirements of corn-to-ethanol biofuel production systems. The model provides a "cradle-to-grave" analysis of the production life-cycle of biofuels from the creation of material inputs to finished products. The model parameters can be set by the user to achieve the highest accuracy in evaluating a single corn-ethanol biorefinery and its surrounding feedstock crop production zone. The model equations and summary reports are unalterable, providing the characteristics needed to serve as certification software to evaluate the environmental impact of biofuels for industry advancement.

So far BESS analysis shows:

  • that corn-ethanol systems are not accurately evaluated as whole because of individual differences in biorefinery designs, energy sources, and crop production practices
  • based on state records and new surveys, natural gas powered dry mills can reduce GHG emissions by 51-62%
  • crop production represents 38-65% of life-cycle GHG emissions for typical USA corn-ethanol systems
  • co-product credits offset 20-40% of life-cycle GHGs
  • biofuel industries have the potential to participate in emissions trading markets, thus displacing a large fraction of current federal subsidies. For this to occur, however, standardized life cycle analysis procedures are a first step.
  • the BESS model offers needed capabilities for GHG certification of biofuels
  • corn-ethanol production is economically rational and supporting policies are needed in this transition away from fossil fuels and toward a bioenergy-based economy
Project Support Western Governor's Association and U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Defense, USDA-CSREES Regional Research, Nebraska Energy Office, Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research
Project Website http://www.bess.unl.edu/
Report
Current Status Completed - BESS for cellulosic ethanol is in development
Topic Biofuel
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Guretzky, John
Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
Email jguretzky2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-1516
Web Page https://agronomy.unl.edu/guretzky
Project Information
Title Agro-Ecosystem Approach to Sustainable Biofuels Production
Description

The Corn Belt is one of the most agriculturally productive areas in the world. However, intensive crop production on land within this region that is not well suited to row crop production has led to loss of soil quality and productivity and has impaired water quality. Growing dedicated biomass crops on land that is either unsuitable or marginal for row crop production would mitigate these problems and may provide additional ecosystem services. Our research and development efforts will focus on herbaceous perennials that provide potentially high biomass production and ecosystem services. A regional system for producing fuels from these biofeedstocks based on pyrolytic conversion will be evaluated. Bio-oil produced from pyrolysis can be refined to produce drop-in transportation fuels. Biochar, a coproduct, is rich in carbon (C) and mineral elements essential for plant growth that can be recycled back to the agroecosystem. Slow turnover of biochar C in the soil will result in net sequestration and improved fertility and physical properties of the soil.

Project Support USDA-NIFA
Project Website
Report
Current Status Continuing
Topic Biofuel
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Perrin, Richard
Unit Agricultural Economics
Email rperrin@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6251
Web Page http://agecon.unl.edu/perrin/
Project Information
Title Farm-Scale Production Cost of Switchgrass for Biomass
Other(s) Kenneth Vogel, Agronomy and Horticulture, kvogel1@unl.edu; Marty Schmer, Agronomy and Horticulture, mschmer2@unl.edu; Rob Mitchell, Agronomy and Horticulture, rmitchell4@unl.edu 
Description

This study showed that the on-farm cost of producing switchgrass for cellulosic ethanol averages about $60 per ton. The study, which contracted 10 farmers in Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota to commercially grow switchgrass for five years, starting in 2000 and 2001, gives a real-life look to farmers interested in growing and contracting switchgrass. This is the most comprehensive study to date on assessing the economic costs of producing switchgrass biomass in commercial fields.

In the study, two farmers with previous experience growing switchgrass had the lowest production costs of $39 per ton. The five farmers with the lowest costs had production costs of less than $50 per ton, which should be achievable by other farmers as they gain production experience. The study does not include costs to transport the switchgrass to a biorefinery, or the costs to process it in the biorefinery.

Researchers offered a speculative scenario that factored in transportation and ethanol production costs. Estimating production cost at $50 per ton and assuming a conversion efficiency of 80 to 90 gallons per ton, the cost of switchgrass feedstock delivered to the refinery would be equivalent to 58 cents to 66 cents per gallon of ethanol. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandates the use of 100 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel by 2010, possibly more than will be produced. The technology to convert cellulosic materials to ethanol on a commercial scale has been difficult to develop. Cellulose first must be broken down into starch and sugar before it can be fermented into alcohol. Production costs are expected to decline further as farmers' experience with switchgrass grows and new ethanol-friendly cultivars are developed.

Project Support U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Project Website http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12155-008-9005-y
Report Perrin_Switchgrass.pdf
Current Status Completed
Topic Biofuel
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Verma, Sashi
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email sverma1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6702
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=122
Project Information
Title Second Generation Biofuels: Carbon Sequestration and Lifecycle Analysis
Other(s) Adam Liska, Biological Systems Engineering, aliska2@unl.edu; Tim Arkebauer, Agronomy & Horticulture, tja@unl.edu; Ken Cassman, Agronomy & Horticulture, kcassman1@unl.edu 
Description

The overarching goal of this three year project is to determine the impact of maize residue removal on carbon sequestration, water use efficiency and life cycle analysis of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of crop production and cellusloic ethanol. The project contributes to the U.S. Department of Energy's strategic goals for increasing cellulosic feedstocks by developing technologies to sustainably provide secure, reliable, and affordable cellulosic biomass supply and develping cost-competitive biomass technologies to enable the production of biofuels nationwide.

Currently, research is being conducted in two production size fields (about 50 ha) of irrigated maize at the University of Nebraska's Agricultural Research and Development Center in Mead. Tower eddy covariance systems will quantify landscape level flux of CO2 to help estimate the net annual carbon sequestration in the two fields. Other criteria to be measured include evapotranspiration (mm yr-1) and water use efficiency, nitrous oxide and methane fluxes, and life cycle analysis to determine the net GHG emissions.

For detailed information on this project download this presentation.

Project Support United States Department of Energy
Project Website n/a
Report
Current Status Continuing
Topic Centers and Initiatives
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Franti, Thomas
Unit Biological Systems Engineering
Email tfranti@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-9872
Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/faculty/Franti.shtml
Project Information
Title The Heartland Regional Water Coordination Initiative
Other(s) Charles Wortmann. Agronomy and Horticulture, cwortmann2@unl.edu; Michael Van Liew, Biological Systems Engineering, mvanliew2@unl.edu; Richard Koelsch, Extension, rkoelsch1@unl.edu 
Description

The Heartland Regional Water Coordination Initiative creates and strengthens multi-state, multi-institutional partnerships and collaboration to make research-based information, education and extension resources of the land-grant universities more accessible to federal, state and local efforts on regional priority water issues. The overall goal of the Initiative is to increase the capacity of citizens, landowners, agencies and community leaders to better address their water quality concerns. The Initiative was developed by leaders of extension water quality programs at four Midwestern universities, including the University of Nebraska. The Initiative establishes a collaborative structure to address targeted regional objectives and audiences on the priority water quality issues of animal manure management, nutrient and pesticide management, and community involvement in watershed management. Results of an Initiative study on citizen attitudes toward water in Nebraska are available here.

A total of 37 specialists from land grant universities and from state and federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska collaborated to publish the following four regional extension publications:

  • Agricultural Phosphorus Management for Water Quality Protection in the Midwest
  • Agricultural Nitrogen Management for Water Quality Protection in the Midwest
  • Targeting of Watershed Management Practices for Water Quality Protection
  • Pesticide Management for Water Quality Protection in the Midwest
Project Support U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service - National Water Program
Project Website http://www.heartlandwq.iastate.edu/
Report HRWCI Accomplishments Summary 2004-2008.pdf
Current Status Continuing - publications available for download here
Topic Centers and Initiatives
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Fritz, Sherilyn
Unit Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Email sfritz2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6431
Web Page http://www.geosciences.unl.edu/people/faculty_page.php?lastname=Fritz&firstname=Sherilyn&type=REG
Project Information
Title Water Resources Research Initiative
Other(s) Ronald Yoder, Biological Systems Engineering, ryoder2@unl.edu; Sandra Zellmer, College of Law, szellmer2@unl.edu; Bruce Dvorak, Civil Engineering, Water Center, bdvorak1@unl.edu; Lorrie Benson, Water Center, lbenson2@unl.edu 
Description The Water Resources Research Initiative (WRRI) seeks to strengthen the University of Nebraska's efforts to be a key resource in teaching, research and Extension education in water sciences, water management, and water policy and law to serve Nebraska and be recognized as a national and international leader in these areas. The WRRI integrates water science, economics, policy and law to address water quality and quantity challenges. It is supported by over 100 faculty members, including some of the nation's top experts in natural sciences, engineering, computer science, economics, policy, social sciences and law. It includes the Water Sciences Laboratory, one of the foremost analytical labs in the nation. Collaboration is fundamental to WRRI, both within the University of Nebraska and with external partners at the local, state, national and international levels.
Project Support n/a
Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/water/index.asp
Report
Current Status Continuing
Topic Centers and Initiatives
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Hayes, Michael
Unit National Drought Mitigation Center
Email mhayes2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-4271
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=47
Project Information
Title National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC)
Other(s)  
Description

The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) helps people and institutions develop and implement measures to reduce societal vulnerability to drought, stressing preparation and risk management rather than crisis management. The NDMC is a key player in nationwide initiatives, producing valuable resources such as the U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly map showing drought across the United States. This map often appears in newspapers, organizational newsletters, and web sites. A number of other drought-monitoring tools and resources allow the NDMC to help people analyze drought and water supply at state and local levels:

U.S. Drought Monitor: a weekly report on the status of the drought across the country. This is an interactive product that allows for regional and state depictions of drought, selected by the user. Statistical information on the status of drought conditions is also available. Enhancements to this product, along with additional decision support tools, are currently being developed. This product can be found at http://dmwww.drought.unl.edu/dm.

DroughtScape: the quarterly newsletter of the NDMC available at DroughtScape.

Drought Impact Reporter (DIR): allows for the cataloging and querying of impacts related to drought for the U.S. Impacts are searched for on a state and county basis, with information related to the report of the impact available on-line. This product is undergoing enhancements with funding from RMA. The DIR can be found at http://droughtreporter.unl.edu/.

Drought Atlas: shows drought conditions on a historical basis will be made available for the United States. Information will be available at a county level, with GIS capabilities. Currently data analysis is being completed with prototypes of the atlas scheduled to be produced by the Fall of this year.

Managing Risk on the Ranch: A Drought Planning Guide for Livestock and Forage Producers: This project will develop a model drought planning process and web-based educational delivery system for forage and rangeland producers. The goal of the project is to provide a guide to help ranchers construct a plan, unique to their operation, that will help them better prepare for and respond to drought. Most of the information will be applicable to Nebraska, and several case studies will be based on ranching examples from the Sandhills.

VegDRI: The Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI) provides regional and sub-county scale information on drought's effects on vegetation. VegDRI maps are produced every 2 weeks throughout the growing season and monitor drought conditions at 1-km spatial resolution. VegDRI maps are now being generated for the U.S. west of Wisconsin, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas and will expand to the remainder of the conterminous U.S.

VegOut: The Vegetation Outlook (VegOut) provides an outlook of general vegetation conditions 2, 4 and 6 weeks into the future. VegOut integrates many variables such as climate, satellite, oceanic and biophysical information to protect observed patterns of vegetation seasonal greenness at these different time steps in the future.

Project Support U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency (RMA)
Project Website http://drought.unl.edu
Report n/a
Current Status Continuous
Pic 1 Project Image
Topic Centers and Initiatives
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Nastasi, Michael
Unit Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research
Email mnastasi2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-3852
Web Page http://engineering.unl.edu/academicunits/mechanical-materials/faculty-staff/MichaelNastasi.shtml
Project Information
Title Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research
Other(s) Jerry L. Hudgins, NCESR, jhudgins2@unl.edu 
Description From biofuels to conservation, the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research (NCESR) supports energy sciences research and education and encourages collaboration between UNL faculty and other organizations and businesses. The center, established in 2006 through a partnership between UNL and the Nebraska Public Power District, supports promising research on renewable sources, conservation and efficiency and fosters economic opportunities for Nebraska. The center awarded its first competitive grants for energy research and education projects in 2006-2007. For a complete listing of all projects funded through the NCESR grant program, click here.
Project Support Nebraska Public Power District
Project Website http://www.ncesr.unl.edu/
Report
Current Status Facilitating Research
Topic Centers and Initiatives
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Ray, Chittaranjan
Unit Water Center
Email cray3@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8427
Web Page http://watercenter.unl.edu/WCAdminStaff.asp
Project Information
Title Nebraska Water Center
Other(s) Lorrie Benson, Nebraska Water Center, lbenson2@unl.edu; Steve Ress, Nebraska Water Center, sress1@unl.edu; Rachael Herpel, Nebraska Water Center and Rural Futures Institute, rherpel2@unl.edu 
Description

The Nebraska Water Center, established by Congress in 1964, focuses on helping the University of Nebraska become an international leader in water research, teaching, extension and outreach by facilitating programs that will result in UNL becoming a premiere institution in the study of agricultural and domestic water use. After nearly 50 years, its fundamental goals have not changed. The Water Center helps arrange research addressing water problems or understanding of water; helps new water researchers; trains future water researchers and engineers; and publishes water research results to water professionals and the public through publications, research colloquiums and conferences, lectures and tours. It is part of the Daugherty Water for Food Institute and part of UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Project Support Varies according to program and project - for more information see http://watercenter.unl.edu
Project Website http://watercenter.unl.edu
Report
Current Status Continuous
Topic Centers and Initiatives
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Scofield, Sandy
Unit Rural Initiative
Email sscofield1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-7091
Web Page http://ruralinitiative.nebraska.edu/who_we_are/staff.html
Project Information
Title University of Nebraska Rural Initiative
Other(s) Rachael Herpel, Water for Food Institute and Rural Futures Institute, rherpel@nebraska.edu 
Description The University of Nebraska Rural Initiative is a University-wide program that focuses the knowledge, skills and creativity of the four campuses--Kearney, Lincoln, Omaha and the Medical Center--on stabilizing and enhancing the economy and quality of life in nonmetropolitan Nebraska. The goals of the Rural Initiative are to connect Nebraskans with knowledge relevant to building their futures; originate and support research that benefits community, regional and economic development in nonmetropolitan areas of Nebraska; and spur innovation, investment and wise use of resources to benefit Nebraska.
Project Support Varies according to program and project - for more information see http://ruralinitiative.nebraska.edu/
Project Website http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/ruralinitiativepubs/
Report
Current Status Transferred into Rural Futures Institute
Topic Centers and Initiatives
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Shultz, Steve
Unit UNO Real Estate Research Center
Email sshultz@mail.unomaha.edu
Phone 402-554-2810
Web Page http://cba.unomaha.edu/dir/HomePageBio.cfm?id=347
Project Information
Title UNO Real Estate Center
Description

The mission of the UNO Real Estate Research Center is to conduct unbiased and timely research on residential, commercial, and rural real estate issues in the Omaha Metropolitan Area, throughout Nebraska, and in the Upper Great Plain States. The Center's specialty is integrating real estate transaction data with Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies to analyze real estate from a spatial perspective.

Shultz' work involves hedonic modeling, which enables the accurate prediction and mapping of irrigation values across entire watersheds. Recent USGS/Water Center and USDA funding has enabled Shultz to update the Republican Irrigation Value Study using 2006 sales, as well as evaluating all aspects of the 2,400 State/USDA irrigation acres retired last summer. Shultz is currently seeking assistance to help him gain access to sales data from the individual counties year 2007 sales in the Republican so he can include them in the study. He has also completed or is working on several Omaha based water-related studies, such as Omaha lake values and Economic Property Losses in Omaha from Floodplain Revisions. The results of additional projects are below.

The Impact of Rural Water Supply Systems on Property Values (Washington County)

The impact of rural water supply systems on rural-residential property values was quantified in a study of Washington County just north of Omaha. Rural water pipelines and service areas along with residential sale locations were digitized into a GIS database and hedonic multiple regression models were used to measure the marginal impact of rural water on sale prices while accounting for varying housing characteristics. Regression results indicate that rural water supply connections do not have a statistically significant impact on housing prices. This is shown to be the result of relatively small sample sizes (few arms-length rural residential sales) and highly heterogeneous housing and drinking water conditions across the study area. It is also likely due to the fact that most lending institutions require rural water connections for the financing of all new home construction. However, this research also demonstrated that the water quality of private wells is higher among non-connected versus connected homes, which implies that property owners decisions to sign up for rural water services is likely to be influenced by property specific rather than regional water quality measures. Such factors should be quantified and evaluated prior to the funding and implementation of rural water supply projects to avoid lower than expected customer sign-ups. Finally, difficulties associated with hedonic price modeling of rural water supply systems are contrasted to more successful water-based hedonic valuations: the contribution of irrigation to agricultural land values and the impact of man-made lakes and flood risk on urban property values. Study Completion Date (final report): September, 2007 Funding Source: USGS 104G National Competition (2005) administered through the NU Water Center ($62,728).

The Value of Zorinsky and Standing Bear Lake Views

An analysis of 1,300 residential housing sales surrounding two publicly funded man-made lake/reservoirs in Omaha shows that lake view amenities increased the value of single-family homes at Lake Zorinsky by 7.3% and by 8% at Standing Bear over the 2000 to 2006 period. This corresponds to an average per house impact of $43,000 (Zorinsky) and $19,000 (Standing Bear). Extrapolating these values to all the existing and potential homes with views around these lakes indicates that $19 million in economic value has been created by the construction of the two lakes. Further research should be conducted to determine who captured these economic benefits (i.e., the public at large, individual homeowners, or real estate developers) and to measure the economic benefits of the views of several smaller Omaha area lakes. Future proposals to construct additional lakes/reservoirs in Omaha should ensure that public agencies (and taxpayers) do not directly subsidize private wealth creation. Phase one of the project has been completed. For the research to be expanded, additional funding is needed. One potential funding source, the Papio Missouri NRD recently voted not to fund the project by a narrow 6-5 vote which is summarized in a June 16, 2007 OWH article. Other funding sources will be pursued.

Home Price Premiums for Low Impact Housing Developments for Stormwater Management.

Local policy makers and planners are increasingly looking towards open space preservation in the form of Low Impact Development (LID) as a way to mitigate the increased storm water run off from suburban sprawl. This paper analyzes a sample of 3,369 sales in Omaha, NE from 2000 to 2006. A hedonic multiple regression model was used to quantify the impact of different LID subdivision designs on the sale prices of adjacent of single-family homes while accounting for other housing and neighborhood factors. The sample of sold homes are contained in a parcel level geo-spatial database which allows for the inclusion of spatial-specific variables such as open space abutment, distance to open-spaces, and the development style of the various subdivisions in which homes are located. Preliminary results indicate that "Greenway based LIDs" have a statistically significant and positive impact on home prices while more "Clustered LIDs" negatively impact home prices. It is also surprising to note that greenway based LID's generate price premiums which on a percentage basis increase adjacent property values by around 10% which exceeds the premium associated with reservoir views (based on the companion study noted above). Shultz has proposed that this LID study be expanded to include additional sub-divisions across Omaha and that these results be dissimilated to both policy makers and real estate developers in the Omaha area. This second phase is not yet funded.

Project Support Varies according to program and project - for more information see http://www.unorealestate.org
Project Website http://www.unorealestate.org
Report
Current Status Continuous
Topic Centers and Initiatives
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Snow, Dan
Unit Water Sciences Laboratory
Email dsnow1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-7537
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=302
Project Information
Title Water Sciences Laboratory
Other(s) Part of the Water Center and School of Natural Resources in NU's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 
Description

The Water Sciences Laboratory (WSL) provides technical expertise and sophisticated analytical instrumentation for environmental and water related research. Specialized analyses are available for trace organics and stable isotopes, as well as more routine methods for measuring water quality. Specialized instrumentation are available for trace-level organic analyses and stable isotope mass spectrometry, as well as equipment used in more routine analyses of water quality. An experienced and highly-skilled staff ensure high quality results for water and environmental research. Since the lab was established in 1990, faculty, staff, and students have analyzed thousands of samples at the facility to support water sciences research.

The number of analytical services provided by the WSL continues to grow. Since 2006 the WSL has updated several working areas in the facility and developed several new methods for supporting environmental research, including two for emerging contaminants. One new method is the liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS) method for algal toxins, which includes five different microcystins, as well as other freshwater toxins. Direct injection of processed water samples allows detection of these compounds to about 1 part per billion. WSL staff are currently working on an on-line extraction method that will permit detection limits around 5 parts per trillion (0.005 ppb). Measuring these naturally produced substances at such low levels, increases confidence in contaminant detection. There is a 50/50 chance of a "false positive" or incorrect identification at a compound's detection limit for any given method. This method can also examine the impact of these substances on drinking water supplies. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a Request for Applications for research proposals to measure cyanotoxins in drinking water. A method this sensitive is needed to measure these and similar contaminants in treated drinking water or in groundwater sources impacted by surface water, where these contaminants are more likely to occur.

Another new method uses on-line extraction LC-MS on steroid hormones. Detection limits at the parts per trillion level are critical for accurate measurement of reproductive hormones such as estradiol and anabolic steroids trenbolone. WSL staff are beginning work on a three-year study funded by EPA to understand the environmental fate and transport of these, and other steroid hormones from livestock feeding operations. This project will require analysis of hundreds of samples for low levels of steroid hormones. For more information, see "The Environmental Fate and Transport of Steroid Hormones from Livestock Feeding Operations."

For more information, see the Analytical Services for Water Research brochure.

Project Support n/a
Project Website http://watercenter.unl.edu/WaterSciLab/WSL.asp
Report
Current Status Continuous
Topic Centers and Initiatives
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Tomkins, Alan
Unit Nebraska Public Policy Center
Email atomkins@nebraska.edu
Phone 402-472-5688
Web Page http://ppc.unl.edu/staff/AlanTomkins
Project Information
Title University of Nebraska Public Policy Center
Description

The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center (PPC) provides assistance to policymakers and researchers on a wide range of public policy issues. The PPC works with policymakers in all three branches of government at local, state, and federal levels. As a system-wide center, staff work with University researchers from all campuses of the University of Nebraska system. The PPC strives to enrich public policy efforts by facilitating, developing and making objective research available to Nebraskans. PPC faculty and staff undertake the investigation of public policy issues and topics of importance to Nebraskans by coordinating policy research, linking policymakers with experts throughout the University system, raising the visibility of public policy-related research activities, and facilitating access to public policy research and expertise.

The PPC links faculty expertise in academic areas to specific problems for the purpose of extending outreach, education, and services to government, businesses, communities, and individuals. The intent of the PPC is to build on the expertise of faculty, staff, and students engaged in activities at research centers that have the potential for improved public policy formation. The PPC also looks for opportunities to partner with other institutions that have an interest in public policy. The PPC brings a proactive focus to identification and research on emerging policy issues and establishing networks among researchers, educators, and policymakers.

The primary focus of the PPC is on analytic studies that address new or ongoing public policy issues of importance to Nebraskans. Topics are suggested by policymakers and administrators from the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches of government, as well as by faculty, staff, and students from the University system. The PCC has been involved in several water-related projects which are listed under Natural Resources.

The most recent PPC water-related project was By the People: Your Water a Citizen Deliberation. These discussions among and between lawmakers and citizens were held at NET Television Studios in Lincoln. On the evening of Thursday, October 19, 2006, 24 residents from across Nebraska gathered to discuss their concerns and opinions about water policy issues facing the state. After the participants discussed water policy issues among themselves for an hour, four members of the legislature's natural resources committee joined the discussion to provide expert feedback and insight. The discussions were aired on an NET TV show. The results of the study of participant attitudes toward water that accompanied the program can be found here.

The PPC also acts as a central referral source and clearinghouse to link University resources to policymakers and other Nebraska officials to short term requests (i.e., 3-4 day turnaround ), acting primarily as a central referral source and clearinghouse, linking university resources to policymakers and other Nebraska officials. Among the entities the PPC works closely include the Nebraska Legislative Research Office, the Executive Board of the Legislature, the Governor's Policy Research and Energy Office, and the State Court Administrator's Office.

Project Support Varies according to program and project - for more information see
Project Website http://ppc.unl.edu
Report
Current Status Continuous
Pic 1 Project Image
Topic Centers and Initiatives
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Wardlow, Brian
Unit Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies
Email bwardlow2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6729
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=81
Project Information
Title Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies (CALMIT)
Other(s)  
Description

CALMIT is recognized as a center-of-excellence for education and research focused on Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems, and Global Positioning Systems. A number of projects have been completed, providing valuable resources and tools that may be used for planning and policy-making.

For example, the Platte River Cooperative Hydrology Study (COHYST) is a multi-agency effort that seeks to improve the understanding of the hydrological conditions in the Platte River watershed in Nebraska upstream of Columbus. Comprehensive and current information on land cover and land use are critical to COHYST since hydrologic conditions change in relation to crop dynamics. CALMIT has developed historical and modern land cover databases for the COHYST region based on Landsat-5 and Landsat-7 Thematic Mapper satellite imagery and ancillary data. A mapping project initiated in 2005 used multi-date Landsat 5 satellite imagery to map 2005 agricultural patterns for the entire State of Nebraska. The scale of the mapping products are at 1:100,000 with a ground resolution of 28.5 meters. There are 25 land use classes and crops are identified as either irrigated or dry land. The 2005 land use mapping in the Central Platte River Basin has been completed, with the overall accuracy of the classification calculated at 80.66%. These land use mapping products are available through the CALMIT website.

The Nebraska Gap Analysis Project was conducted as part of a nationwide effort to identify the degree to which all native plant and animal species and natural communities are or are not represented in our present-day mix of conservation lands. Project results show that the amount of land in Nebraska in the more protective stewardship categories is very small, with the.top three land cover types with significant area in conservation stewardship being Aquatic Bed Wetlands (8.3% of that cover type), Emergent Wetlands (3.8%), and Ponderosa Pine Forests and Woodland (2.8%). Together, these areas total just 0.08% of the land area of the State; thus revealing profound gaps in the network of stewardship needed to cover a representative selection of Nebraska's biodiversity. The complete project report, along with a poster-sized Nebraska Land Cover map, are available through the CALMIT website.

Project Support COHYST - Nebraska Environmental Trust and Nebraska Department of Natural Resources Statewide Mapping Project - Nebraska Department of Natural Resources Nebraska Gap Analysys Project - U.S. Geological Service/Biological Resources Division - Gap Analysis Program, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources - Conservation and Survey Division, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region VII
Project Website http://www.calmit.unl.edu
Report
Current Status Continuous
Topic Centers, Initiatives, and Units
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Allen, Craig
Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Email callen3@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-0229
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=647
Project Information
Title Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Other(s) Joseph J. Fontaine, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources, jfontaine2@unl.edu; Kevin L. Pope, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources, kpope2@unl.edu 
Description This unit was formed in 2004 through an agreement signed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and The Wildlife Management Institute. The three-part mission of this unit is education, research, and technical assistance. The unit is currently working on projects in the areas of resilience and adaptive management, invasive species, wildlife, and fish. For detailed information about unit activities, see the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit-USGS Report of Activities October 2009-October 2010.
Project Support See above.
Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/necoopunit
Report
Current Status Continuing
Topic Centers, Initiatives, and Units
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Jorgensen, Christopher
Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Email cjorgensen8@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-9126
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/graduatestudent-member.asp?pid=1263
Project Information
Title Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Science
Other(s) Craig Allen, School of Natural Resources, callen3@unl.edu; Andy Bishop, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, Andy_Bishop@fws.gov 
Description

The Management Board of the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture (RWBJV) is committed to implementing the Strategic Habitat Conservation Business Model. This science-based model requires a commitment of resources and time to develop a strong biological foundation for delivering conservation planning, design research and monitoring to the appropriate sites. To fulfill this commitment, the University of Nebraska Lincoln hired Christopher Jorgensen as the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture (RWBJV) Science Coordinator. The position is housed in the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and is funded by the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture.

As science coordinator, Chris will help plan, implement, and develop science-based conservation programs in Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin and mixed-grass prairie region. He is working with other RWBJV personnel to develop predictive models and decision support tools that aid in identifying types of habitat and locations where conservation is likely to benefit migratory birds and other wildlife. In addition, Chris is in charge of monitoring and evaluating the success of ongoing and past conservation projects, and is collaborating with other researchers from various federal, regional, and state conservation organizations and agencies to expand knowledge of the region’s conservation needs.

The RWBJV is a partnership composed of conservation agencies, local government bodies, non-profit organizations, and individuals, each contributing their expertise and resources to the protection and restoration of wetland habitat and other native habitats in Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin and mixed-grass prairie region.

Project Support Rainwater Basin Joint Venture
Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/necoopunit/research.main.html#rainwater
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Centers, Initiatives, and Units
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Lenton, Roberto
Unit Water for Food Institute
Email rlenton@nebraska.edu
Phone 402-472-5145
Web Page http://waterforfood.nebraska.edu/blog/2014/11/04/roberto-lenton-2/
Project Information
Title Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute
Description

The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute was founded in 2010 to address the global challenge of achieving food security with less pressure on water resources through improved management of water in agricultural and food systems. We are committed to ensuring a water and food secure world without compromising the use of water for other human and environmental needs.

Our approach is to extend the University of Nebraska’s expertise through strong partnerships with other universities and public and private sector organizations. Together we are developing research, education and engagement programs in a focused effort to increase food security while ensuring the sustainability of water resources and agricultural systems. We work locally and internationally, bridging the water and agriculture communities and the worlds of small- and large-holder farmers to deliver innovative solutions to this complex global challenge.

Our vision is a food and water secure world, where global food security is ensured without compromising the use of water to meet other pressing human and environmental needs.

Our mission is to have a lasting and significant impact on achieving more food security using less water by (1) conducting scientific and policy research and developing advanced decision-making tools and knowledge delivery systems, (2) using the results of scientific and policy research to inform policy and advise policy makers, and (3) educating the necessary human talent.

Project Support
Project Website http://waterforfood.nebraska.edu/
Report
Current Status Ongoing
Pic 1 Project Image
Pic Caption 1 The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute 
Topic Centers, Initiatives, and Units
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Schroeder, Chuck
Unit Rural Futures Institute
Email cschroeder@nebraska.edu
Phone 402-472-7252
Web Page http://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/institute/
Project Information
Title Rural Futures Institute
Other(s)  
Description

2012 marked the 150th anniversary of three seminal pieces of legislation that shaped Nebraska and the Great Plains

  • The Homestead Act, which created a land rush for settlers,
  • The Morrill Act, which created the land-grant university system, and
  • The Pacific Railway Act, which provided federal support for construction of the first transcontinental railroad.

The impact of these legislative pieces changed the face of the nation, bringing newcomers by the tens of thousands to establish homes and livelihoods in a region once dismissed as the Great American Desert. But much has changed in the past century and a half. Shifts in population, economic conditions, and technology prompt reconsideration of urgent challenges facing not only the Great Plains, but also rural places in general.

Out of a commitment to address those challenges grew plans for a Rural Futures Institute and a Rural Futures Conference aimed at pulling together a wide array of stakeholders to explore how best to proceed.In an effort to gather feedback and to help plan the conference, the University sponsored community forums in eleven cities across the state. Six additional forums were held at University of Nebraska campus locations. Extension staff and other University personnel also participated in an online forum. All told, 340 people from across the state engaged in the conversations.

Led by University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken and Vice President Ronnie Green, Rural Futures Institute planners emphasized four key considerations in shaping the framework of the Rural Futures Institute:

  1. Transdisciplinary work is essential. To be successful, the Institute will have to transcend traditional boundaries of academic disciplines while respecting the expertise specific disciplines contribute.
  2. Innovation and entrepreneurship are crucial. This goes beyond private sector business considerations. The Institute should attempt to draw from the region’s long history of innovative thinking to leverage further creativity and entrepreneurial activity throughout the region, as well as within the University itself.
  3. It is more than economics. Health care, education, civic culture, and the arts are critical elements of community life and must be part of the fabric of the Institute, even though they often cannot be measured or justified in a strictly economic context.
  4. Deep collaborations are a foundational element. Despite challenges associated with institutional collaborations, the Rural Futures Institute will succeed only if it can foster and engage in meaningful partnerships within the University and with the many non-academic stakeholders in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors that have resources and expertise to contribute to the issues at hand
Project Support
Project Website http://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/
Report
Current Status Continuous
Pic 1 Project Image
Pic Caption 1 The Rural Futures Institute logo alludes to the infinity sign. This symbol is dynamic, representing a pathway or the crossing of paths with a vidual desire to connect the two end poitns of the symbol. 
Topic Climate
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Cottingham, Ian
Unit Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Email icotting@cse.unl.edu
Phone 402-472-3835
Web Page http://cse.unl.edu/~icotting/
Project Information
Title The Greenleaf Project
Other(s) Mark Svoboda, School of Natural Resources, msvoboda2@unl.edu 
Description

The GreenLeaf Project is a revolutionary collection of decision-support tools and methodologies linked to provide dramatically new and unique views of the data critical to supporting producers, decision makers and researchers in analyzing climate-associated risk events and mitigating their effects.

Climate is a complicated force that significantly impacts every aspect of our lives. Few people experience these impacts more than agriculture and livestock producers. Mitigating the risk associated with the occurrence of destructive climate like drought or early freeze is critical to the success of any farming or ranching operation. With the impacts of drought effecting nearly every region in the United States, the availability of tools to help producers assess the severity and duration of climate events is imperative as they develop risk mitigation strategies. In 2005 a partnership between the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) and the University of Nebraska - Lincoln Department of Computer Science and Engineering was started. The goal of this partnership is to provide producers with tools and data that will allow them to more effectively plan for and mitigate the effects of climate. Together these organizations are using years of risk management experience, climate expertise and the latest internet technologies to develop tools and information systems that will help producers develop and maintain risk management plans.

This project has led researchers to rethink the way that decision support tools work. They have rebuilt their tool offerings from the ground up with a single focus: simplicity. Good decision support requires that data be available when it is needed every time. They found that the only way for technology to empower the decision making processes of their users is to always be there just under the surface and never get in the way. With this understanding they have been able to streamline just about every one of their processes all while significantly upgrading their technology base. The result: a robust set of tools providing producers with access to over 1 billion historical climate records, dynamic maps and the latest in drought assessment and reporting tools; a system that is both familiar and new at the same time; a system that puts a world of information a mouse click away.

This project information sheet provides an overview of

Project Support USDA Risk Management Agency
Project Website http://greenleaf.unl.edu/
Report
Current Status Completed
Topic Climate
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Hu, Qi (Steve)
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email qhu2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6642
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=54
Project Information
Title Earlier winter wheat heading dates and warmer spring in the U.S. Great Plains
Other(s) Albert Weiss, School of Natural Resources, aweiss1@unl.edu; Song Feng, School of Natural Resources, sfeng2@unl.edu, P. Stephen Baenziger, Agronomy and Horticulture, pbaenziger1@unl.edu 
Description

Phenological* change of plants is an indication of local and regional climate change, independent of the instrumentation records and associated bias/error. Although some phenological changes have been identified for native and perennial species and used to infer climate change in various regions of the world, little has been known for changes in agricultural plants/crops. This study examined change in the heading or flowering date of a winter wheat cultivar, Kharkof, over 70 years at six locations in the U.S. Great Plains, including Lincoln, Nebraska.

Results showed that the heading or flowering date of the Kharkof occurred 6-10 days earlier in 2004 than in 1948. Because the heading or flowering date of winter wheat is primarily a function of spring temperatures (Xue et al., 2004), the earlier heading or flowering dates indicate warmer spring season temperatures in the region. Further analysis of temperatures showed that this heading or flowering date shift to earlier time is significantly correlated with the increase in spring season (March-May) daily minimum temperatures. Although this signal of warmer spring daily minimum temperatures is obtained from the instrumental records, the confirmation of this signal by changes in the heading or flowering date offers independent evidence for the temperature change, free of possible instrumentation biases or errors. This warming temperature signal is further supported by the result showing a trivial relationship between the heading or flowering dates and winter and spring precipitation at all the study locations. This trivial correlation with precipitation (Q. Hu et al. / Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 135 (2005) 284-290 289) points to rising minimum daily temperatures as the sole explanation of the earlier winter wheat heading dates.

*Phenology is the science dealing with the influence of climate on the recurrence of such annual phenomena of animal and plant life as budding and bird migrations.

Project Support US Department of Agriculture Cooperative Research Project
Project Website
Report Hu_winter_wheat.pdf
Current Status Published in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 2006 135:284-290
Topic Climate
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Hu, Qi (Steve)
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email qhu2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6642
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=54
Project Information
Title Understanding Farmers' Forecast Use from Their Beliefs, Values, Social Norms, and Perceived Obstacles
Other(s) Lisa M. Pytlik Zillig, Center for Instructional Innovation, lpytlikzillig2@unl.edu; Gary D. Lynne, Agricultural Economics, glynne1@unl.edu; Alan J. Tomkins, Public Policy Center, atomkins2@unl.edu; William J. Waltman; Michael J. Hayes, School of Natural Resources, mhayes2@unl.edu; Kenneth G. Hubbard, School of Natural Resources, khubbard1@unl.edu; Ikrom Artikov; Stacey J. Hoffman, Public Policy Center, shoffman3@unl.edu; Donald A. Wilhite, School of Natural Resources, dwilhite2@unl.edu 
Description

Although the accuracy of weather and climate forecasts is continuously improving and new information retrieved from climate data is adding to the understanding of climate variation, use of the forecasts and climate information by farmers in farming decisions has changed little. This lack of change may result from knowledge barriers and psychological, social, and economic factors that undermine farmer motivation to use forecasts and climate information. According to the theory of planned behavior (TPB), the motivation to use forecasts may arise from personal attitudes, social norms, and perceived control or ability to use forecasts in specific decisions. These attributes are examined using data from a survey designed around the TPB and conducted among farming communities in Otoe, Seward and Fillmore counties. These counties were chosen to represent dryland, mixed dryland and irrigated, and mostly irrigated cropping systems typical in the western U.S. Corn Belt region.

There were three major findings:

  1. the utility and value of the forecasts for farming decisions as perceived by farmers are, on average, around 3.0 on a 0-7 scale, indicating much room to improve attitudes toward the forecast value.
  2. The use of forecasts by farmers to influence decisions is likely affected by several social groups that can provide "expert viewpoints" on forecast use.
  3. A major obstacle, next to forecast accuracy, is the perceived identity and reliability of the forecast makers. Given the rapidly increasing number of forecasts in this growing service business, the ambiguous identity of forecast providers may have left farmers confused and may have prevented them from developing both trust in forecasts and skills to use them.

These findings shed light on productive avenues for increasing the influence of forecasts, which may lead to greater farming productivity. In addition, this study establishes a set of reference points that can be used for comparisons with future studies to quantify changes in forecast use and influence.

Project Support US Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Human Dimensions in Global Change Program
Project Website
Report Hu_etal_JAMC_2006.pdf
Current Status Published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 2006 45:1190-1201
Topic Climate
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Hu, Qi (Steve)
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email qhu2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6642
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=54
Project Information
Title Climate Conditions for Persistent, Frequent Droughts/Floods in the Central US
Other(s) Song Feng, School of Natural Resources, sfeng2@unl.edu 
Description

Prolonged summer droughts and wet periods can devastate water supply and crop production. Understanding the atmospheric and climatic processes that cause the development of these conditions can help water managers and agricultural producers to cope with the adverse conditions and maintain adequate water supply and crop production. Achieving this understanding is one of the goals of this research.

Thus far, researchers have arrived at the conclusions that prolonged (multidecadal timescale) droughts and wet periods in the central and western US develop with favorable combinations of the sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the tropical and North Pacific and the North Atlantic Oceans. A reason for the SST to influence the summer precipitation in the central and western US is that these large-scale SST anomalies disturb the energy balance in the atmosphere and initiate circulation adjustment to these energy anomalies. In these adjustment processes the central and western US are often under the influence of the circulation that either suppressed or enhances the summer precipitation.

A concurrence of the persistent below normal SST anomalies in the eastern tropical Pacific and a warmer than average SST in the North Atlantic favors severe summer droughts in the central and western US, and a reversed set of anomalies can sustain prolonged wet summers in these areas.

Project Support n/a
Project Website
Report
Current Status n/a
Topic Climate
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Hubbard, Kenneth
Unit High Plains Regional Climate Center
Email khubbard1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8294
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=55
Project Information
Title The Impact of Irrigation on 20th Century Air Temperature in the High Plains Aquifer Region
Other(s) Rezaul Mahmood, Department of Geography and Geology, Western Kentucky University; Travis Keeling, Department of Geography and Geology, Western Kentucky University; Stuart Foster, Department of Geography and Geology, Western Kentucky University 
Description

This study investigates potential impacts of widespread adoption of irrigation on long-term temperatures over the High Plains aquifer (HPA) region of the Great Plains. It is well known that availability of soil moisture can modify near surface energy partitioning (latent vs. sensible) and temperature. This study provides an assessment of the changes in the historical near surface temperature records in the HPA region due to adoption of irrigation.

This study reports that growing season mean maximum temperature (GTmax) at irrigated areas is predominantly cooler than non-irrigated areas with up to 1.01C cooling at some locations. A geographical variation in magnitude of this cooling is also observed. The majority of irrigated locations report warming in GTmin with up to 1.00 C increases. The results aare argely statistically significant. This paper suggests more focus on regional- and local-scale studies is needed to better understand impacts of land use changes on climate change and variability.

Project Support University of Nebraska Lincoln High Plains Regional Climate Center, Western Kentucky University Kentucky Climate Center
Project Website
Report Hubbard_Irrigation_Temperature.pdf
Current Status Completed
Topic Climate
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Lynne, Gary
Unit Agricultural Economics
Email glynne1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8281
Web Page http://agecon.unl.edu/lynne
Project Information
Title Understanding the Influence of Climate Forecasts on Farmer Decisions as Planned Behavior
Other(s) Ikrom Artikov; Stacey J. Hoffman, Public Policy Center, shoffman3@unl.edu; Lisa M. Pytlik Zillig, Center for Instructional Innovation, lpytlikzillig2@unl.edu; (Steve) Qi Hu, School of Natural Resources, qhu2@unl.edu; Alan J. Tomkins, Public Policy Center, atomkins2@unl.edu; Kenneth G. Hubbard, School of Natural Resources, khubbard1@unl.edu; Michael J. Hayes, School of Natural Resources, mhayes2@unl.edu; and William J. Waltman 
Description

Results of a set of four regression models applied to recent survey data of farmers in Otoe, Seward and Fillmore counties suggest the causes that drive farmer intentions of using weather and climate information and forecasts in farming decisions. The model results quantify the relative importance of attitude, social norm, perceived behavioral control, and financial capability in explaining the influence of climate-conditions information and short-term and long-term forecasts on agronomic, crop insurance, and crop marketing decisions.

Attitude, serving as a proxy for the utility gained from the use of such information, had the most profound positive influence on the outcome of all the decisions, followed by norms. The norms in the community, as a proxy for the utility gained from allowing oneself to be influenced by others, played a larger role in agronomic decisions than in insurance or marketing decisions. In addition, the interaction of controllability (accuracy, availability, reliability, timeliness of weather and climate information), self-efficacy (farmer ability and understanding), and general preference for control was shown to be a substantive cause. Yet control variables also have an economic side: The farm-sales variable as a measure of financial ability and motivation intensified and clarified the role of control while also enhancing the statistical robustness of the attitude and norms variables in better clarifying how they drive the influence. Overall, the integrated model of planned behavior from social psychology and derived demand from economics, that is, the "planned demand model," is more powerful than models based on either of these approaches alone. Taken together, these results suggest that the "human dimension" needs to be better recognized so as to improve effective use of climate and weather forecasts and information for farming decision making.

Project Support US Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Human Dimensions in Global Change Program
Project Website
Report Lynne_Climate.pdf
Current Status Published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 2006 45:1202-1214
Topic Climate
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Rowe, Clinton
Unit Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Email crowe1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-1946
Web Page http://eas.unl.edu/people/faculty_page.php?lastname=Rowe&firstname=Clinton&type=REG
Project Information
Title Climate Impacts of Converting Food Crop Cultivation to Biofuel Crop Production: A Pilot Study for the Proposed Nebraska Regional Climate Modeling Facility
Other(s) Robert Oglesby, School of Natural Resources, roglesby2@unl.edu; David Swanson, Computer Science and Engineering, dswanson4@unl.edu; Byrav Ramamurthy, Computer Science and Engineering, bramamurthy2@unl.edu 
Description

Agriculture is a dominant and ubiquitous feature of the US Great Plains; indeed the region has been known as the "bread basket" of the country. Agriculture is also very sensitive to climate changes, especially in this region. During the 20th century, temperatures in the northeastern and central Great Plains have risen more than 2 F on average, and up to 3 F in various regions. Such a trend is expected to continue in the coming years, as predicted by Global Climate Models (GCMs). Some of the likely impacts of global warming in the Great Plains include:

  1. longer growing seasons due to early onset of spring temperatures;
  2. increased climate extremes, especially droughts and floods;
  3. alternation in the timing of growing season precipitation along with the possibility of less frequent storms though with increased magnitudes (and more severe thunderstorm outbreaks);
  4. reduction in soil moisture, as increased evapotranspiration surpasses precipitation;
  5. increased demand for water; and
  6. increased cost of meeting water demand due to rising fuel costs and water scarcity.

As is becomes increasingly clear that human-induced climate change is indeed occurring, focus is shifting from basic climate science to into understanding and coping with the impacts of climate change. The University of Nebraska is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between basic and applied climate science having considerable expertise in both. The proposed Nebraska Regional Climate Modeling Facility (NRCMF) is an "end-to-end" facility that will take predictions of global climate models, scale them into predictions for Nebraska and the Great Plains, use these results to determine the likely impacts of climate change on life in Nebraska, and work with stakeholders to disseminate widely the results so that methods of mitigation and adaptation to these impacts can be developed.

The overarching goal of this project is therefore to cross the so-called "valley of death" between basic and applied science and provide a coherent strategy for using the results of basic climate research to understand, evaluate, and quantify key impacts of climate changes. To address these issues a NRCMF is being developed at UNL. The facility is designed to: 1) provide accurate and complete assessments of potential climate change at the scale of the Great Plains; and 2) work with stakeholders to help them assess the impact of those climate changes on the ecological and human resources of the Great Plains, including how social and economic policies may be affected. Such a facility will be a valuable resource for the people of Nebraska, as well as significantly enhance the reputation and research competitiveness of the University. UNL faculty members have already identified potential collaborators at UNK, UNO, and UNMC.

Two pilot studies are currently underway to demonstrate both the computational and scientific feasibility of this facility:

  • estimating the potential effects for the Great Plains of global warming throughout the 21st century; and
  • estimating climate effects, notably on temperature and precipitation, due to a transition from growing corn for food and animal feed to growing other crops, such as switchgrass, for biofuels.

For more information, refer to the database record on Regional Climate Implications of Large-scale Cultivation of Biofuel Crops.

Project Support UNL Office of Research Strategic Clusters Program
Project Website
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Climate
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Rowe, Clinton
Unit Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Email crowe1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-1946
Web Page http://eas.unl.edu/people/faculty_page.php?lastname=Rowe&firstname=Clinton&type=REG
Project Information
Title Regional Climate Implications of Large-scale Cultivation of Biofuel Crops
Other(s) Robert Oglesby, School of Natural Resources, roglesby2@unl.edu; Cynthia Hays, School of Natural Resources, chays1@unl.edu; Andrea Van Etten 
Description

Conversion from corn-based ethanol to cellulosic ethanol has the potential to dramatically alter the production of biofuels in the United States and could result in large-scale changes in the agricultural landscape of vast areas of the country. Regions currently dominated by corn production could see widespread planting of switchgrass and other fast-growing, water-efficient sources of cellulosic biomass. An often overlooked side effect of these land-cover changes could be a significant alternation of the energy fluxes between the land surface and the atmosphere with profound local, regional, and continental impacts on the climate system.

While switchgrass, with its deep and extensive root system may be less sensitive to drought and less needing of irrigation than corn, it also cycles much less water during its growing season. The reduction in water input to the atmosphere means less water available for local and regional precipitation, and also affects the surface energy balance, resulting in more sensible and longwave heating of the atmosphere. These effects may cause a significant increase in surface air temperature and stabilization of the atmosphere, leading to a reduction in precipitation as well as increased evaporative potential. Both would help negate any increased water efficiency of switchgrass.

Researchers used state of the art regional climate models (MM5 and WRF) to investigate potential climate effects. Initial runs assume all corn or all switchgrass, with a control that uses land use types circa 1980s. Focus is on the mid-April through July growing season.

Conclusions are that a transition to switchgrass may help preserve scarce water resources and provide agricultural and energy benefits, but have deleterious climatic effects. In particular, the reduction in precipitation, coupled with increased evaporative demand could largely offset any increase in water use efficiency from growing swithgrass and could potentially exacerbate global warming. A further sobering realization is that extensive use of irrigation for agriculture may have kept the Great Plains artificially cool and wet in past decades.

More research and sophisticated modeling is needed; however, these crop models also show that during the entire growing season corn and switchgrass cycle approximately the same amount of water, but during the height of the growing season (June and July), corn cycles much more water than switchgrass - implying our results to date may underestimate the effects during this time period.

Project Support UNL Office of Research Strategic Clusters Program
Project Website
Report
Current Status On-going
Topic Climate
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Tang, Zhenghong
Unit Architecture
Email ztang2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-9281
Web Page http://architecture.unl.edu/people/bios/tang_zhenghong.shtml
Project Information
Title Evaluating Local Climate Change Action Plans
Other(s) Samuel D. Brody, Texas A&M University, sbrody@arch.tamu.edu; Courtney Quinn, Agricultural Leadership Education and Communication, courtney_quinn@yahoo.com; Liang Chang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, lchang9@illinois.edu; Ting Wei, Architecture-CRP 
Description

Climate change is generally recognized as a large-scale issue resolved through regional or national policy initiatives, but action taken at the local level is also needed. This study examined 40 recently adopted local climate change action plans in the US and analyzed how well they recognized the concepts of climate change and prepared for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The results indicate that local climate change action plans have a high level of "awareness", moderate "analysis capabilities" for climate change, and relatively limited ‘action approaches’ for climate change mitigation. The study also identified specific factors influencing the quality of these local jurisdictional plans.

This research recommends that to improve planning for climate change at the local level, plans should:

  • Increase decision makers' awareness of future impacts on climate change and help them understand how preparedness for climate change can be integrated into daily decision making. Adequate understanding of potential adverse impacts can encourage local jurisdictions to commit themselves to climate change mitigation. Local jurisdictions can also increase public awareness to encourage developers and individuals to adopt climate-friendly and environmentally efficient practices.
  • Localize global climate change by staying abreast of the trends in relevant climate change information. Since most current climate change studies are conducted at regional, national or global levels, professional training is needed so local jurisdictions can integrate the information at the local level.
  • Use all available planning tools to increase the analysis capabilities of local climate change action plans, such as analyzing the impacts of climate change by reviewing major emission sources in a planning area and linking these results with local planning policies.
  • Include the natural environment as well as the built environment (e.g. energy, transportation, wastes and buildings).
  • Employ strategies for implementation as well as communication and adopt more incentives to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
  • Recognize that state mandates are the most significant predictor of higher quality local climate change plans.
  • Recognize that transportation-related issues, such as vehicular emission and average commuting time, can significantly contribute to local climate change plan quality. Specifically, more vehicles on the road generating higher amounts of GHG emissions appear to motivate local decision makers to adopt higher quality plans.

This study found significant variation in the quality of adopted local climate change plans across the US and specific factors that contribute to their relative strengths and weaknesses. While this analysis is the first to examine climate change plans using plan evaluation techniques, it should be considered only an initial step in exploring the topic.

Project Support Hyde Professorship Fund and Layman Award
Project Website
Report Tang Climate Change.pdf
Current Status Published in Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 53:1 (January 2010), pp. 41-62; doi: 10.1080/09640560903399772
Topic Climate
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name van den Broeke, Matthew
Unit Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
Email mvandenbroeke2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-2418
Web Page http://eas.unl.edu/people/faculty_page.php?lastname=Van%20Den%20Broeke&firstname=Matthew&type=REG
Project Information
Title Quantifying the Relative Roles of Progressive Land Use Change, Irrigation, and Remote Forcing in Southern Great Plains Precipitation Variability
Other(s) Qi Hu, School of Natural Resources, qhu2@unl.edu; Robert Oglesby, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, roglesby2@unl.edu 
Description

This project seeks to understand the causes of precipitation variability in the US Southern Great Plains (SGP), roughly equivalent to the region covered by Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. This area is among the most drought-prone in the US, with substantial economic impacts including the severe consequences of the Dust Bowl and losses in the tens of billions of dollars in 2011 and 2012. Precipitation anomalies in the region, including rainfall deficits contributing to droughts, are generally attributed to changes in the large-scale atmospheric circulation brought about by fluctuations in sea surface temperature (SST). But local land surface conditions can act to intensify remotely-forced precipitation variability through several mechanisms. For instance, lack of rainfall leads to dry soil and reduced evaporation, which reduces the moisture source available for precipitation and causes further rainfall reduction. Also, warm dry conditions due to drought promote ridging in the mid-troposphere, which can further reduce precipitation as rain-bearing systems move around the ridge.

The work has societal broader impacts due to the economic and societal impact of drought in the SGP. The findings of the research may be useful to the agricultural sector and SGP water managers as they make decisions regarding changes in land and water use in the region. In addition to publications in peer-reviewed research journals, results of the research will be distributed through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and other extension services across the SGP. In addition the project will support and train two graduate student, thereby providing for the future workforce in this research area.

Project Support NSF
Project Website n/a
Report
Current Status Underway
Pic 1 Project Image
Pic Caption 1  
Pic 2 Project Image 2
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Topic Computer Science
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Detweiler, Carrick
Unit Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Email carrick@cse.unl.edu
Phone 402-472-2449
Web Page http://cse.unl.edu/~carrick/
Project Information
Title Co-Aerial Ecologist: Robotic Water Sampling and Sensing in the Wild
Other(s) Amy Burgin, School of Natural Resources, aburgin2@unl.edu; Sebastian Elbaum, Computer Science & Engineering, selbaum2@unl.edu; Matthew Waite, Journalism & Mass Communications, matt.waite@unl.edu 
Description Motivation

Monitoring and predicting water quality poses a significant challenge since sources of fresh water and contaminants come in from huge areas of land and waterways. Further, the source of pollution can change quickly during and after rainfall events. Characterizing large-scale and quickly changing water systems remains a critical bottleneck that inhibits understanding of transport processes and the development of effective management plans to address water quality issues. Fixed sensors tend to lack the versatility to directly detect contaminants of interest, are expensive, and only monitor a single location. Consequently, there is still a strong reliance upon manual "grab-sampling" within hydrologic and aquatic ecology applications. At best, this reliance is expensive, inconvenient and presents safety risks to personnel involved (e.g. when samples must be taken at night). At worst, manual sampling results in datasets that cannot answer many questions of interest due to limitations of temporal and spatial resolution in the sampling strategy or the inaccessibility of sites (e.g. canyons).

Goals and Objectives

This research develops an aerial water sampling system that can be quickly and safely deployed to reach varying and hard to access locations, that integrates with existing static sensors, and that is adaptable to a wide range of scientific goals. The capability to obtain quick samples over large areas will lead to a dramatic increase in the understanding of critical natural resources. This research will enable better interactions between non-expert operators and robots by using semi-autonomous systems to detect faults and unknown situations to ensure safety of the operators and environment.

Project Support USDA-NIFA
Project Website http://nimbus.unl.edu/projects/co-aerial-ecologist-robotic-water-sampling-and-sensing-in-the-wild/
Report
Current Status Underway
Pic 1 Project Image
Pic Caption 1 Dr. Carrick Detweiler with a robotic water sampler. 
Topic Computer Science
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Hubbard, Kenneth G.
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email khubbard1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8765
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=55
Project Information
Title Comparison of methods for spatially estimating station temperatures in a quality control system
Other(s) Jinsheng You, School of Natural Resources, jyou2@unl.edu; Steve Goddard, Computer Science and Engineering, sgoddard2@unl.edu 
Description This paper evaluates the performance of two approaches across the US to estimate maximum and minimum daily temperature where the estimates are compared to actual measured data.
Project Support
Project Website n/a
Report Hubbard_Station_Temperatures.pdf
Current Status Published - International Journal of Climatology. 2008 28: 777-787.
Topic Computer Science
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Samal, Ashok
Unit Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Email asamal1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-2217
Web Page http://cse-apps.unl.edu/facdb/users/12/details
Project Information
Title Knowledge Discovery and Information Fusion Tools for Collaborative Systems to Adaptively Manage Uncertain Hydrological Resources
Other(s) Xun-Hong Chen, School of Natural Resources, xchen2@unl.edu; Alan J. Tomkins, Public Policy Center, atomkins2@unl.edu; Leen-Kiat Soh, Computer Science and Engineering, lksoh@cse.unl.edu; Sandra Zellmer, Law, szellmer2@unl.edu 
Description

There is a critical need to accurately and efficiently assess and manage water quantity. This is a challenge because water management is conducted under conditions of uncertainty about current and future water resources. Adaptive water management has become the policy heuristic for flexible water management that responds to ever changing physical and social demands. The central challenge of the Adaptive Management approach is the need to quantify the uncertainty in observed water measurements.

The long-term goal of this project is to develop intelligent, scalable decision support tools for collaborative systems that incorporate uncertainty to analyze and integrate hydrological data and information. The framework is powered by knowledge discovery, information fusion and visualization tools, that:

  • assist hydrologists developing comprehensive models and metrics for the analysis of the water cycle;
  • supports decision makers in adaptive management determinations;
  • increases confidence in water data for adaptive managers, policymakers, and water users; and
  • helps policy makers study the social and legal impact on water users.

The project addresses several research aspects of collaborative systems, including knowledge discovery and information fusion applied in a digital government domain. Part of the project also includes collaboration with Hohai University (Nanjing, China) to develop cross-national research relevant to water management issues.

Project Support National Science Foundation, Digital Government Program
Project Website
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Computer Science
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Vuran, Mehmet Can
Unit Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Email mcvuran@cse.unl.edu
Phone 402-472-5019
Web Page http://cse.unl.edu/~mcvuran/
Project Information
Title Wireless Underground Sensor Networks
Description

Wireless underground sensor networks can give agricultural producers precise, real-time data about soil moisture and other changing conditions. To establish a network in a field, hundreds of sensors are buried in the soil to collect data about soil moisture and composition, temperature and atmospheric changes; the soil can then "tell us" when and how much to water.

Accurate, up-to-date soil measurements can enable agricultural producers to use water more efficiently. Estimates are that underground sensors could reduce irrigation as much as 25 percent depending on soil conditions and crop type. In Nebraska, which has more irrigated acres than any other state, such sensors could have significant economic and environmental benefits.

As part of this project, network protocols are being designed to enable sensors to transmit information through the soil to a center-pivot irrigation system. The pivot's control system will then use this information to determine when to turn on the water and how much to apply. The ability to harmonize farming operations with actual soil conditions would give wireless underground sensor networks a major advantage over above-ground weather stations that only monitor atmospheric conditions. An underground network also would be more reliable than a wireless weather station, whose signal can interfere with other farm equipment or get blocked by trees and other obstructions.

This research shows potential to transform wireless communications in challenging environments. Soil, especially when wet, limits the sensors' transmission power. Network protocols and communication devices must be smart enough to adjust to the dynamic conditions of soil or water. Advancements made through this research could expand the use of wireless underground sensor networks to applications as diverse as irrigating golf courses and playing fields or monitoring underground oil pipes.

Project Support National Science Foundation
Project Website http://cpn.unl.edu/?q=projects
Report Wireless_Sensor_Center_Pivot_Integration.pdf
Current Status Underway
Topic Crop Nutrient Use
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Mackenzie, Sally
Unit Center for Plant Science Innovation
Email sally.mackenzie@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6997
Web Page http://www.unl.edu/psi/faculty-sally-mackenzie
Project Information
Title Intersection of the Plant Epigenome and Bioenergetics in Phenotypy
Other(s) Michael Fromm, Agronomy & Horticulture, mfromm@unlnotes.unl.edu; Bin Yu, School of Biological Sciences, byu3@unl.edu; Aaron Lorenz, Agronomy & Horticulture, alorenz2@unl.edu 
Description

Mitochondria and chloroplasts serve as bioenergetic focal points of the cell, compartmenting the metabolic underpinnings of cellular function. Likewise, they act as key environmental stress sensors, and are vital to processing plant defense responses. Yet, their integration to a systems model for the plant cell has been complicated by inability to perturb their functions with adequate specificity. This research team has implemented an elegant approach to alter mitochondrial and chloroplast properties that focuses on manipulation of a single nuclear gene, MSH1 (MutS homolog 1). Loss of MSH1 function produces organelle changes to condition distinct plant growth phenotypes without altering genotype of the plant. These include dramatic changes in growth rate, flowering time, reproduction, chloroplast development, and biotic and abiotic stress responses. It is postulated, as the central hypothesis to this research, that the msh1-associated organelle alterations cause heritable, programmed changes to the plant epigenome. The planned investigations capitalize on recent key observations involving MSH1, and implement cross-species comparative analysis in transcript profile-based dissection of emergent phenotypes.

Since Darwin's time, geneticists have speculated about the underlying basis of hybrid vigor and trans-generational adaptations to stress. While more recent evidence has suggested an epigenetic nature to these phenomena, direct investigation of the process linking bioenergetic or environmental sensing with epigenetic programs in the cell has generally been intractable. The system we investigate may prove invaluable in addressing these processes. Consequently, this research could have important implications for the plant breeding process and for our understanding of plant defense and adaptation. These studies will incorporate high school and undergraduate students in summer research activities, as part of our program to encourage careers in science research.

Project Support National Science Foundation
Project Website
Report
Current Status Ongoing
Pic 1 Project Image
Pic Caption 1 Reversal of the MSH1-RNAi transgenic phenotype by crossing in sorghum 
Topic Crop Nutrient Use
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Walia, Harkamal
Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
Email hwalia2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-1162
Web Page http://agronomy.unl.edu/walia
Project Information
Title Early Seed Development Under Stressful Environments
Other(s) Dong Wang, Department of Statistics, dwang3@unl.edu 
Description

Ninety-seven percent of Earth's water is saline and two-thirds of the existing fresh water deposit is locked away in snow and ice, leaving only one percent for human use. Since the majority of fresh water is used to grow food, the changing climate will challenge our food supply as drought events become more frequent and intense. Therefore, it is critical to develop a new generation of crops that can sustain productivity with reduced fresh water input. This project fills a significant gap in our understanding on how unfavorable environment perturbs seed development and ultimately affects plant productivity. Because seeds from cereals (such as rice, maize, and wheat) are the primary source of calories, and rice is an established model for cereals, this work will focus on how drought stress adversely affects early seed development in rice resulting in reduced seed size. Taking a molecular and biochemical approach, the project team will identify rice genes that are critical for normal seed development, but whose expression is altered by drought stress. This work will elucidate how seed, arguably the most economically important plant organ as food source, senses and adapts to a changing environment. This project will be important for developing future crops that are needed for mitigating and adapting to changing climate.

The project will broaden participation in STEM workforce by training persons with disabilities. The PIs will work with the Office for Students with Disabilities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) to recruit, and train qualified individuals into project research activities. This project will also contribute to The Plant and Soil Sciences eLibrary, an online repository of science education materials, by building a new seed development module that is accessible for students with learning disabilities.

Project Support National Science Foundation
Project Website http://agronomy.unl.edu/web/agronomy/walialab
Report n/a
Current Status Underway
Pic 1 Project Image
Pic Caption 1 Effects of water stress on growth and yield 
Topic Crop Water Use
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Cassman, Ken
Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
Email kcassman1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-5554
Web Page http://agronomy.unl.edu/cassman
Project Information
Title Real-time Decision Support System for Deficit Irrigation - Hybrid-Maize
Other(s)  
Description

Hybrid-Maize is a computer program that simulates the growth of a corn crop under non-limiting or water-limited (rainfed or irrigated) conditions based on daily weather data. Specifically, it allows the user to:

  • assess the overall site yield potential and its variability based on historical weather data
  • evaluate changes in attainable yield using different combinations of planting date, hybrid maturity, and plant density
  • explore options for optimal irrigation management
  • conduct in-season simulations to evaluate actual growth up to the current date based on real-time weather data, and to forecast final yield scenarios based on historical weather data for the remainder of the growing season

Hybrid-Maize does NOT allow assessment of different options for nutrient management nor does it account for yield losses due to weeds, insects, diseases, lodging, and other stresses. Hybrid-Maize has been evaluated primarily in rainfed and irrigated maize systems of the U.S. Corn Belt. Caution should be exercised when applying this model to other environments as this may require changes in some of the default model parameters.

This project will develop a similar tool for irrigation scheduling for Nebraska soybean producers, and a real-time decision support system for deficit irrigation on corn, both based upon the Hybrid-Maize model. These tools will assist producers who have limited irrigation water supplies to optimize irrigation scheduling in real time for maximum yields, in particular during water-short years.

Project Support Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nebraska Soybean Board
Project Website http://hybridmaize.unl.edu/
Report
Current Status Continuing - Software Available
Topic Crop Water Use
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Cassman, Ken
Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
Email kcassman1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-5554
Web Page http://agronomy.unl.edu/cassman
Project Information
Title Limits to maize productivity in Western Corn-Belt: a simulation analysis for fully irrigated and rainfed conditions
Other(s) Patricio Grassini, Agronomy and Horticulture, patricio.grassini@huskers.unl.edu; Haishun Yang, Agronomy and Horticulture, hyang2@unl.edu 
Description This study served to identify the limits for maize productivity in the Western Corn-Belt, located mostly in Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
Project Support Water, Energy and Agriculture Initiative - Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Soybean Board, UNL Agricultural Research Division, Nebraska Public Power District through the UNL Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, Fulbright Program
Project Website http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1312&context=agronomyfacpub
Report Cassman Maize Productivity.pdf
Current Status Published in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 2009 149:1254-1265
Topic Crop Water Use
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Glewen, Keith
Unit Extension
Email kglewen1@unl.edu
Phone 402-624-8030
Web Page http://saunders.unl.edu/
Project Information
Title Irrigation and Energy Conservation Workshops
Other(s) Steve Melvin, Extension, smelvin1@unl.edu 
Description

Nebraska corn growers are constantly challenged to grow corn responsibly using proven best-management practices. Surface and groundwater irrigation management is on the top of the list. Topics include: Nebraska Irrigation - Past Trends and Future Challenges; Managing Nitrogen to Protect Water Quality; Estimating Pumping Plant Energy Costs; Irrigation Basics and Soil Physical Properties; Soil Water Monitoring; Effect of Crop Residues on Soil Water Evaporation Loss; System Net Capacities in Nebraska and In-Season Water Management. UNL Extension faculty will present the information.

In 2009 workshops were held in:

  • Curtis - Feb. 17
  • Alliance - Feb. 18
  • Ord - Feb. 19
  • Columbus - Feb. 20

In 2008 this irrigation and energy conservation training provided 382 participants with valuable information on proven best-management practices to help them save water and money. Four one-day workshops were held in February at Clay Center, Holdrege, Ogallala and Neligh. An Irrigation and Energy Conservation Field Day was held in September at UNL's South Central Field Lab near Clay Center. The participants geographically represented 54 Nebraska counties and Colorado and Missouri. Topics included: Estimating Pumping Energy Costs; Irrigation Basics and Soil Physical Properties; Soil Water Monitoring; Estimating Crop ET and; Irrigation Water Management. The combined workshop and field day participants represented 780,368 acres of cropland. The average value of knowledge gained was estimated by participants at $8.88 per acre (workshops) and $14.05 per acre (field day), indicating that the potential value of the training was more than $9.6 million dollars.

Project Support Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Corn Growers Association
Project Website http://ardc.unl.edu/corngrowers
Report
Current Status Continuous
Topic Crop Water Use
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Irmak, Suat
Unit Biological Systems Engineering
Email sirmak2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-4865
Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/sirmak2
Project Information
Title Quantifying Evaporation, Crop Evapotranspiration, and the Water Balance for Tilled and Untilled Fields
Description

The water managers of Nebraska are currently working very hard to reduce the consumptive use of water in the state to sustain the use of Nebraska's streams and aquifers far into the future. If these efforts are to be effective, the causes of increased consumptive use must be accurately identified. Many allege that the decrease in stream flows seen in many of the states' streams are the result of conservation practices such as no-till farming. There are over eight million irrigated acres in the state and many of these are managed under no-till practices; thus, the impacts of conservation measures on Nebraska's water supplies has become a key question facing water and land managers in the state. Of particular interest is how much water use difference can be expected under different tillage practices and the seasonal and annual evaporation from a no-till field versus a tilled field.

The benefits of no-till practices, such as energy savings, reduced dust emission, reduced wind and water erosion and enhanced soil quality, have been documented for many years; however, one of the fundamental gaps in understanding the impacts of irrigated and dryland agriculture in Nebraska is the effect of the no-till practices on crop water use. The effect of different tillage practices on soil hydraulic properties and infiltration, runoff, deep percolation and other water balance components have not been sufficiently documented for Nebraska soil, climate and crop management conditions. Until this is understood, the full benefit of management practices will not be realized.

In this project the annual, seasonal, monthly and weekly evapotranspiration (ET) losses from the no-till and conventional till fields will be quantified and the amount of surface evaporation difference between the two tillage practices determined. Differences in soil physical properties and hydrologic balance components of the two tillage practices for a center pivot-irrigated corn-soybean rotation will be measured. Methodologies will be developed to estimate ET from both fields using airborne and satellite remote sensing data. Project findings and knowledge will be transferred to growers and their advisors to enhance irrigated and dryland agricultural productivity. Project findings will also aid policy and decision-makers and state water regulatory agencies to make better-informed decisions about water resources assessments and designing the integrated management plans that will aid Nebraskans and enhance the environment. In December of 2006 the University of Nebraska Water Resources Advisory Panel ranked this project as a top priority for Nebraska water research.

Project Support Nebraska Environmental Trust
Project Website
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Crop Water Use
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Irmak, Suat
Unit Biological Systems Engineering
Email sirmak2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-4865
Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/sirmak2
Project Information
Title A Decision Support Tool to Increase Energy and Crop Water Use Efficiency for Corn and Soybean Production
Description

Energy costs coupled with limitations in water availability are threatening the sustainability of irrigation in the state. Energy costs for irrigation rose almost 100 percent for typical Nebraska irrigators from the spring of 2003 to the summer of 2006 and continue to rise sharply. The rising cost of fuel and the limited availability of water make producing maximum crop yield with minimal input imperative.

Nebraska growers need scientifically based and practical management strategies that can aid them in their decision-making process to enhance crop water-use efficiency and reduce energy use to achieve maximum profitability. Growers are looking for answers on how to make a maximum use of limited irrigation water and how to manage irrigation water to reduce pumping cost.

Crop simulation models with the capability of "real-time" assessment of crop and soil water status and yield prediction based on historical climate data represent a powerful new tool to help improve irrigation decisions and increase water-use efficiency especially for situations where the amount of available water supply is less than the full requirement for maximum crop yield. This project validates and demonstrates a decision-support tool for a real-time irrigation scheduling period, and releases the new tool as a software program for use by crop producers, crop consultants, and industry professionals. This tool will be used to assess energy requirement for different irrigation regimes to aid growers and state and federal agencies to make better-informed management decisions.

Project Support Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District, Gard Fund
Project Website
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Crop Water Use
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Irmak, Suat
Unit Biological Systems Engineering
Email sirmak2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-4865
Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/sirmak2
Project Information
Title Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Demonstration Network
Other(s) Gary Zoubek, York County Extension, gzoubek@unl.edu 
Description

The Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Demonstration Network (NAWMDN) encourages the adoption of newer technologies that will enable farmers to use water and energy resources associated with irrigated crop production efficiently. NAWMDN launched in 2005 and started with 20 growers from south central Nebraska who joined the Network as collaborators. In 2008 an online tool named ETgage was added to enable participation by growers throughout Nebraska.

The NAWMDN ETgage project is one part of a system for testing cutting-edge technologies and creating a network with growers, UNL Extension, NRDs, NRCS, and crop consultants, and other interested partners, that will enable the adoption of water and energy conservation practices. The simplicity of the use and interpretation of the ETgage data, as well as its economic feasibility, makes it easy for farmers to monitor crop water use for effective irrigation management. In this project ETgages are used to estimate crop water use, and Watermark sensors are used to measure soil moisture to determine irrigation timing and amount. Each year, NAWMDN team members organize educational meetings during the growing season and over the winter to implement the project, teach participants how to use the ETgage and Watermark sensors for irrigation management, review the results, set goals, and obtain grower feedback. This project has been reported at local, regional, and national meetings.

In 2005, there were 18 demonstration sites. Some of the ETgage and Watermark sensors were read by growers and some were read weekly by Network core members. In 2006, the second year of the project, there were more than 50 demonstration sites. In 2007 more than 125 cooperators in nine NRDs and 22 counties were involved. In the fall of 2007, 89 producers involved in the NAWMDN were surveyed; of those 56% responding, the estimated corn water savings varied from 0-7.5" with an average savings of 2.6," while soybeans water savings varied from 0-4.8" with an average of 2.1." Using 2007 diesel prices, this resulted in total energy savings of $2,808,000 and $2,269,800 for corn or soybeans over 117,000 acres.

In 2008 over 300 active participants from 25 counties in 9 of Nebraska's 23 NRDs. An interactive web site was also created to inform growers and other clients about the network and to educate producers and industry professionals about using these two tools along with crop stage of growth information to make irrigation management decisions. This interactive web site has engaged the cooperating producers and enhanced learning. The site consists of a map of Nebraska's 93 counties on which producers can select specific counties to find a Google gps map with ETgauge locations marked. Producers can click on specific sites to see the weekly reference evapoptranspiration (ET) reported by producers. The site also includes information about the NAWMDN and how to use the various tools.

For detailed information, see Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Demonstration Network: Integrating Research and Extension/Outreach.

Project Support Partners include personnel from 19 extension offices, the Little Blue NRD, the Upper Big Blue NRD, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service, South Central Agricultural Laboratory, and the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District.
Project Website http://water.unl.edu/cropswater/nawmdn
Report
Current Status Continuing
Topic Crop Water Use
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Martin, Derrel
Unit Biological Systems Engineering
Email dmartin1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-1586
Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/dmartin2
Project Information
Title Enhancing Irrigation Management Tools and Developing a Decision System for Managing Limited Irrigation Supplies - Enhancing The Water Optimizer
Other(s) Chris Thompson, Agricultural Economics, cthompson2@unl.edu; Paul Burgener, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, pburgener2@unl.edu; Ray Supalla, Agricultural Economics, rsupalla1@unl.edu; Gary Hergert, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, ghergert1@unl.edu 
Description

The Water Optimizer is a computer model developed in response to several years of drought across the state and to farmers facing water restrictions. The model can be used by producers to evaluate management options when water is limiting due to drought or regulations; it can also be used by water planners or policy makers who wish to estimate the farm-level economic consequences of retiring acres or regulating the water supply. Released by UNL in 2005, the model is available for all counties in Nebraska to evaluate single fields for several crop options. Irrigated crops include: corn, soybeans, sorghum, wheat, alfalfa, edible beans and sunflowers. Dryland crops include: corn, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, alfalfa and wheat in continuous, summer fallow and eco-fallow rotations. Producers put information into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, including soil type and irrigation system options. Irrigation options include center pivot or gravity irrigation systems, well or canal delivery, and systems powered by electricity, diesel or natural gas. After entering this basic information, producers enter their production costs, irrigation costs, crop prices, crop type and available water. After these parameters have been set, the program calculates what crops will be most profitable with the given costs and available water. This gives the producer a "whole farm view" in considering how to manage available water supplies.

While the Water Optimizer is useful, it is limited in that it considers economic choices and consequences one field (well) and one year at a time. Three different departments (Agronomy-Horticulture, Agricultural Economics and Biological Systems Engineering) will combine their expertise to develop information to enhance Water Optimizer by: 1) improving the tool's function for crops grown in the semiarid High Plains, including canola, camelina, chickpeas, dry beans and sunflowers; 2) expanding the tool's geographic coverage area to additional counties in Nebraska including irrigated areas in Colorado and Kansas; 3) developing the capability to evaluate risk-management alternatives on a whole-farm basis as well as field by field; and 4) developing the capability to determine the best strategies for managing multi-year water allocations. The benefits of this project will be to maintain profitability and sustain farming enterprises with a limited irrigation supply. The goal is to conduct educational programming in conjunction with the project to encourage other producers to implement practices and concepts demonstrated in this project. An additional outcome will be transferring this information to other areas of declining ground water or surface water.

The Water Optimizer tool was developed to assist in addressing water shortages created by drought and interstate water rights litigation. The current model released November 2010, supports all 93 Nebraska counties.

Project Support U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency
Project Website http://agecon.unl.edu/wateroptimizer
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Crop Water Use
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Verma, Shashi
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email sverma1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6702
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=122
Project Information
Title Quantifying Evapotranspiration and Water Use Efficiency of Irrigated and Dryland Maize-Soybean Cropping Systems
Other(s) Andrew Suyker, School of Natural Resources, asuyker1@unl.edu; Tim Arkebauer, Agronomy and Horticulture, tarkebauer1@unl.edu; Ken Cassman, Agronomy and Horticulture, kcassman1@unl.edu; Derrel Martin, Biological Systems Engineering, dmartin2@unl.edu 
Description

Year-round measurements of evapotranspiration are being made in maize-soybean agroecosystems employing tower eddy covariance flux sensors. Three cropping systems are being studied: (a) irrigated continuous maize, (b) irrigated maize-soybean rotation, and (c) rainfed maize-soybean rotation. The study sites are located at the University of Nebraska Agricultural Research and Development Center at Mead, NE. The primary objective of this study is to quantify seasonal and annual distributions of evapotranspiration of these important crops, and evaluate the contributions of growing season and non-growing season periods to the annual evapotranspiration total. Role of environmental and biophysical variables is being studied in controlling the seasonal and interannual variability in evapotranspiration. Water use efficiency of these cropping systems (based on concurrently measured carbon dioxide exchange and biomass) is being quantified and compared against results obtained at other locations.

More on this research in the Journal of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

Project Support UNL Program of Excellence, US Department of Energy
Project Website
Report
Current Status Completed
Topic Crop Water Use
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Yonts, C. Dean
Unit Panhandle Research and Extension Center
Email cyonts1@unl.edu
Phone 308-632-1246
Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/faculty33
Project Information
Title Impact of mid-season water deficit on dry bean production
Description Ground water decline is occurring in many of the dry bean production areas. As a result, irrigation is being limited by restricting the quantity of water that can be pumped during the growing season. In other areas, drought has limited the amount of surface water that is available in reservoirs for irrigation. Regardless of the water source or the production area, as water resources become limited, producers need to know how to manage their water supply for optimum dry bean yields. Two experiments are being conducted in this research experiment to simulate sprinkler and furrow irrigation systems. The sprinkler experiment allows frequent irrigations, once every three days, with application amounts limited to approximately 0.8 in. per irrigation. With the furrow irrigation experiment, water is applied approximately every 10 days in an amount that insures that the plants active root zone is filled to field capacity. The irrigation treatments used in both experiments include full irrigation and five limited irrigation treatments. The limited irrigation treatments are designed to induce water stress at different times beginning at first flowering and continuing for approximately 30 days.
Project Support Nebraska Dry Bean Commission
Project Website
Report
Current Status Continuing
Topic Crop Water Use and Water Use Efficiency
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Irmak, Suat
Unit Biological Systems Engineering
Email sirmak2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-4865
Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/sirmak2
Project Information
Title Nebraska Water and Energy Flux Measurement, Modeling, and Research Network (NEBFLUX)
Description NEBFLUX is a comprehensive network designed to measure surface energy and water vapor fluxes, microclimate variables, plant physiological parameters, soil water content, surface characteristics, and their interactions for various vegetation surfaces. At present, ten Bowen ration energy balance systems (BREBS) and one eddy covariance system are operating on a long-term and continuous basis for vegetation surfaces ranging from tilled and untilled irrigated and rainfed croplands, irrigated and rainfed grasslands, alfalfa, to Phragmites-dominated cottonwood and willow stand plant communities. For more information see Nebraska Water and Energy Flux Measurement, Modeling, and Research Network (NEBFLUX).
Project Support
Project Website
Report n/a
Current Status Continuing
Topic Crop Water Use and Water Use Efficiency
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Lyon, Drew
Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
Email dlyon1@unl.edu
Phone 308-632-1266
Web Page http://agronomy.unl.edu/lyon
Project Information
Title Simulated Yield and Profitability of Five Potential Crops for Intensifying the Dryland Wheat-Fallow Production System
Description

Greater precipitation use efficiency (PUE) and economic returns by increasing cropping frequency through the addition of summer crops to the dryland winter wheat-fallow (WF) cropping system have been reported in the semiarid Central Great Plains of USA. However, due to the highly variable nature of precipitation and uncertain water availability, selection of a crop with assured positive net returns to add to the system to increase cropping frequency is a challenge in the absence of reliable seasonal precipitation forecasts. The objective of this study was to evaluate long-term yields and net returns of several potential summer crops at various soil water contents at planting to assess their potential use in increasing dryland cropping frequency.

Project Support Anna Elliott Fund
Project Website
Report Lyon_Wheat_Fallow.pdf
Current Status Completed
Topic Crop Water Use and Water Use Efficiency
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Wardlow, Brian
Unit National Drought Mitigation Center
Email bwardlow2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6729
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=784
Project Information
Title A comparison of MODIS 250-m EVI and NDVI data for crop mapping: a case study for southwest Kansas
Other(s) Stephen Egbert, University of Kansas, segbert@ku.edu 
Description This study showed that MODIS EVI and NDVI produced equivalent large-area crop classification results. Differences in thematic accuracy, spatially depicted patterns, and classified crop areas between the EVI and NDVI-derived maps were negligible.
Project Support NASA Earth System Science Fellowship
Project Website n/a
Report Wardlow_Crop_Mapping.pdf
Current Status Published - International Journal of Remote Sensing; Feb2010, Vol. 31 Issue 3, p805-830, 26p
Topic Drought
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Ryu, Jae
Unit National Drought Mitigation Center
Email jryu2@unl.edu
Phone 208-885-6182
Web Page
Project Information
Title Developing Seasonal Predictive Capability for Drought Mitigation Decision Support System
Other(s) Mark Svoboda, School of Natural Resources, msvoboda2@unl.edu; Cody Knutson, School of Natural Resources, cknutson1@unl.edu; Meghan Sittler, Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, msittler@lpsnrd.org; Ximing Cai, University of Illinois, xmcai@illinois.edu; Xin-Zhong Liang, University of Illinois, xliang@uiuc.edu; Praveen Kumar, University of Illinois, kumar1@illinois.edu 
Description This project is being conducted in collaboration with the research team in the civil and environmental engineering at University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (UIUC). The goal of this project is to incorporate the latest state-of-the-art forecast tools in the Decision Support System (DSS) by indicating whether drought will strengthen or weaken as time goes on. Such information will help stakeholders, such as irrigation farmers and reservoir managers translate the drought prediction into specific decision making processes. Additionally, this enhanced DSS tools will provide real-time decision support information regarding "what to do now" and "what to wait and see."
Project Support National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Project Website
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Drought
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Svoboda, Mark
Unit National Drought Mitigation Center
Email msvoboda2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8238
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=584
Project Information
Title Drought Ready Communities
Other(s) Cody L. Knutson, School of Natural Resourcses / National Drought Mitigation Center, cknutson1@unl.edu; Kelly Smith, School of Natural Resourcses / National Drought Mitigation Center, ksmith2@unl.edu; Melissa Widhalm, School of Natural Resourcses / National Drought Mitigation Center, mwidhalm3@unl.edu; Donna Woudenberg, School of Natural Resourcses / National Drought Mitigation Center, dwoudenberg2@unl.edu 
Description The National Drought Mitigation Center has initiated the development of a Drought Ready Communities program. Existing drought-planning methodologies are focused on state, national, and tribal levels of government. Drought Ready Communities will help cities and towns become more resilient to drought by identifying necessary governance structures, drought alert trigger systems, an understanding of water as a limited renewable resource, and an in-depth knowledge of how drought affects them. Drought Ready Communities will build on existing efforts such as the National Weather Service's Storm-Ready Communities, the Oklahoma Climatological Survey's statewide public safety outreach, and drought planning methodologies developed by the National Drought Mitigation Center and others.

Click here to read A Guide To Community Drought Preparedness

Project Support National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Sectoral Applications Research Program
Project Website http://www.drought.unl.edu/Planning/PlanningProcesses/DroughtReadyCommunities.aspx
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Economics
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Cantrell, Randolph
Unit Rural Initiative
Email rcantrell1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-0919
Web Page http://cari.unl.edu/randyc.shtml
Project Information
Title Nebraska County Map of Demographic & Economic Data
Description Water resources planning and management often begins with an understanding of a region’s demographics and economy. For profiles and a summary of demographic and economic trends of all Nebraska counties, click here to access these reports on the Rural Initiative website. Research shows that the population of people under the age of 20 is declining across much of rural Nebraska, and those losses are large in some counties.
Project Support
Project Website http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1012&context=ruralinitiativepubs
Report
Current Status Completed
Topic Economics
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Schoengold, Karina
Unit Agricultural Economics
Email kschoengold2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-2304
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=731
Project Information
Title The Impact of Weather Extremes on Agricultural Production Methods: Does drought increase adoption of conservation tillage practices?
Other(s) Ya Ding, School of Natural Resources, yding2@unl.edu; Tsegaye Tadesse, School of Natural Resources, ttadesse2@unl.edu 
Description

One benefit of conservation tillage practices is an increase in soil moisture. The paper combines panel data techniques with spatial analysis to measure the impact of extreme weather events on the adoption of conservation tillage. Zellner's SUR technique is extended to spatial panel data to correct for cross-sectional heterogeneity, spatial autocorrelation, and contemporaneous correlation. Panel data allows the identification of differences in adoption rates as a function of the severity of past drought or flood events. The adoption of no-till, alternative conservation tillage, and reduced till are estimated relative to conventional tillage. Extremely dry conditions in recent years are found to increase the adoption of both no-till and other conservation tillage practices; while extremely wet conditions (i.e., floods) do not have a significant effect on the choice of tillage practice. In addition, spring floods are found to significantly reduce the use of conservation tillage practices.

Project Support n/a
Project Website http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/ageconfacpub/83/
Report Weather_Extremes_Tillage.pdf
Current Status Continuing
Topic Economics
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Schoengold, Karina
Unit Agricultural Economics
Email kschoengold2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-2304
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=731
Project Information
Title Irrigation Water Consumption: Implications for Water Management Policies
Description In many cases, water markets (i.e., water trading) is a proposed solution to reducing the economic inefficiencies associated with the traditional methods used to allocate water between users. With this in mind, water trading programs are being considered as a feasible policy tool in Nebraska. In cases where water trading or water purchasing policies are feasible, this research will examine those cases and additional feasible pricing policies. The results of this research will help the state of Nebraska determine how to best use irrigation right buyouts or irrigation taxes as tools to reduce consumptive water use.
Project Support UNL Agricultural Research Division
Project Website
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Economics
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Supalla, Raymond
Unit Agricultural Economics
Email rsupalla1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-1792
Web Page http://www.agecon.unl.edu/facultystaff/directory/supalla.html
Project Information
Title Water Banking and Marketing in Nebraska
Description

Current water allocation needs in Nebraska suggest that markets could be helpful in at least four important applications: for augmenting flows in the Republican River; for purchasing the necessary water to offset depletions to the Platte River; for the purchase of irrigation water rights to provide for improved recreation at Lake McConaughy; and for minimizing the cost of restricted groundwater pumping. Establishing markets requires public acceptance of the concept, development of procedures for acquisition and sale of water rights, and development of rules and procedures for protecting third party interests. If a banking function is involved additional administrative rules and initial public funding will also be required.

Recently completed survey research suggests that there is considerable public resistance to the concept of water markets. Potential market participation was found to depend on profitability, location, the proposed use of the water, and the duration of the transfer. Irrigators in the Republican Basin expressed the greatest willingness to participate in water markets of all kinds.

The political feasibility and the economic advantages of water marketing or banking depends in part on how water rights are acquired by the state or NRD and transferred to other uses. Two alternative auction designs for the acquisition or sale of water rights were evaluated using an experimental economics approach: a multiple round seller priced auction and a multiple round buyer priced auction. The buyer priced auction had a lower cost of water right acquisition for the state, resulted in a more efficient market and produced a more equitable outcome for irrigators. The seller priced auction, however, resulted in more total revenue for all players combined, provided more opportunity for sellers to exercise marketing skills and was a little easier to administer.

As water markets are developed the specific procedures used must balance efficiency and equity objectives. The effectiveness of markets can often be enhanced by using simplified general approaches to determining consumptive use, transfer entitlements and expected third party impacts.

Click here to see Dr. Supalla's presentation on water banking and marketing in Nebraska

Project Support n/a
Project Website
Report
Current Status Completed
Topic Economics
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Thompson, Christopher
Unit Agricultural Economics
Email cthompson2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8602
Web Page http://wateroptimizer.unl.edu
Project Information
Title Water Trading Can Reduce the Cost and Increase the Effectiveness of Groundwater Allocation
Other(s) Raymond Supalla, Agricultural Economics, rsupalla1@unl.edu 
Description This project determined that capping the total amount of water pumped with an allocation, and then permitting allocating rights to be traded, reduces control costs because water can move to where it is most valuable. Irrigators with inefficient irrigation systems or relatively unproductive land sell all or part of their allocation rights to irrigators with more productive operations at a mutually agreed upon price that makes both parties better off with no change in total pumping. Subsequent work suggests that cap and trade markets may be able to increase the effectiveness of a groundwater allocation program as well as reduce costs. Read more about this research in Cornhusker Economics
Project Support U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency
Project Website http://wateroptimizer.unl.edu
Report Thompson_Water_Trading.pdf
Current Status Completed
Topic Economics
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Thompson, Christopher
Unit Agricultural Economics
Email cthompson2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8602
Web Page http://wateroptimizer.unl.edu
Project Information
Title Cap and Trade as a Groundwater Management Policy: Evidence from Frontier County, Nebraska
Other(s) Brian McMullen, Agricultural Economics, bmcmullen2@unl.edu; Raymond Supalla, Agricultural Economics, rsupalla1@unl.edu; Derrel Martin, Biological Systems Engineering, dmartin1@unl.edu 
Description

Obligations to bordering states, endangered species protection and long term resource sustainability objectives have resulted in efforts to reduce the consumption of irrigation water. Nebraska's Department of Natural Resources (NDNR) and local Natural Resource Districts (NRDs) are meeting these obligations largely by conserving water with a command-and-control approach, commonly called allocation. The cost of allocation, which occurs in the form of reduced economic returns to irrigation, could be significantly reduced by using an integrated cap and trade approach.

The concept of groundwater management through cap and trade parallels the current practice of using cap and trade programs to limit environmental pollution to a specified level at least cost. The main difference between limiting pollution and limiting groundwater pumping with a cap and trade program is the nature of the economic linkages. Pollution reduction is achieved at least cost when a firm either invests in abatement technology or purchases unused pollution permits from another firm that faces lower abatement costs. Groundwater consumption is reduced when an irrigator either reduces pumping, thus decreasing crop production and revenue, or alternatively purchases the right to pump from another irrigator. Profits from the water are higher if very productive irrigators can purchase irrigation rights from less productive irrigators.

Water Optimizer, an innovative deficit irrigation management tool, was used to quantify the increased net economic returns from allowing irrigators to trade water rights between wells. Water Optimizer determined the optimal cropping practices to most efficiently use a given water allocation. The situations evaluated were well head to well head transfer, but this concept could also be used either within or between ownership units, or perhaps also between political units such as NRDs.

Two representative fields in Frontier County were evaluated, one being very productive with an efficient irrigation system and high yields and the other being much less productive. Net returns were calculated for both fields using a multi-field version of Water Optimizer, with and without cooperative trading. The increased profits from allowing trading depended on the size of the total water allocation, but ranged from zero to about $80 per acre. This analysis suggests that NRDs and NDNR should consider making increased use of trading and pooling provisions when formulating groundwater regulations.

Project Support n/a
Project Website
Report Cap and Trade GW Mgt Policy Sept 07.pdf
Current Status Completed
Topic Economics
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Thompson, Eric
Unit College of Business Administration
Email ethompson2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-3318
Web Page http://cba.unl.edu/people/ethompson/
Project Information
Title The 2010 Economic Impact of the Nebraska Agricultural Production Complex
Other(s) Bruce Johnson, Department of Agricultural Economics, bjohnson2@unl.edu, Anil Giri, Department of Agricultural Economics, anil.giri@huskers.unl.edu 
Description

Nebraska’s agricultural production complex is remarkable in both its sheer volume of production and its diversity. The state is a national leader in the production of major crop and livestock commodities. It is also home to major input industries tied to agriculture as well as sectors processing agricultural production into value-added products, all of which contribute to its economic significance. Moreover, the growth of the state’s agriculture over the past decade has been phenomenal. In 2010, total farm cash receipts exceeded $20 billion for the first time, essentially double the 2000 level. And while the nation’s economy was hit by the Great Recession followed by years of anemic recovery, this state’s economy has fared much better than most, in large part due to the prosperity within its agricultural sectors.

Given the above, this study was conducted to provide a benchmark assessment of the economic impact of Nebraska agriculture on the state’s economy, centering on the year, 2010, the most recent year for which comprehensive data is available. The focus is on the agricultural production complex which includes a set of industries closely involved in the growing, processing, and transportation of agricultural products. Included in this complex are: crop production, livestock production, agriculturally-related manufacturing (durable and non-durable), agriculturally-related transportation and wholesaling, agricultural-related research and education, and agri-tourism.

Project Support University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bureau of Business Research
Project Website
Report 2010_Economic_Impact_Agriculture.pdf
Current Status Completed
Topic Education-Teachers
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Forbes, Cory
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email cforbes3@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-7844
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=1930
Project Information
Title Modeling Hydrologic Systems in Elementary Science
Other(s)  
Description

The Modeling Hydrologic Systems in Elementary Science (MoHSES) exploratory Discovery Research K-12 project, funded by the National Science Foundation, involves three years of research and development to investigate 3rd-grade students’ model-based reasoning about geospheric components of the hydrologic cycle (i.e., groundwater) and how elementary teachers scaffold students’ model-based reasoning. We draw upon an existing modeling learning performances framework to guide development and integration of a long-term conceptual modeling task into the Full Option Science System (FOSS) Water module, collaborative work with five 3rd-grade elementary teachers recruited from diverse institutional settings, and the execution of a design-based research program. We use classroom observations, in-depth interviews with students and teachers, and student artifacts to produce empirical findings, an empirically-tested learning performances framework, and pilot-tested student modeling tasks. These deliverables will ground future work to investigate students’ model-based reasoning about hydrologic systems across the K-8 grades and develop an empirically-tested learning progression for elementary students’ model-based reasoning about hydrologic systems. The project leverages a partnership involving the University of Iowa (UI) and Michigan State University (MSU) science education programs, and the Iowa Van Allen Science Teaching (VAST) Center and Grant Wood Area Education Agency (GWAEA).

Project Support NSF
Project Website http://www.corytforbes.com/projects/mohses
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Education-Teachers
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Gosselin, Dave
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email dgosselin2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8919
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=42
Project Information
Title Laboratory Earth - Online Courses to Improve Teachers' Science Knowledge
Other(s) Ron Bonnstetter, Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, rbonnstetter1@unl.edu; Tim Slater, University of Arizona Department of Astronomy; Cindy Larson-Miller, School of Natural Resources, clarsonmiller2@unl.edu 
Description These graduate-level courses provide a convenient, teacher-friendly, online professional development opportunity that meets the needs of K-12 educators who wish to improve their ability to teach and understand earth science.
Project Support National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Project Website http://nesen.unl.edu/Projects/LabEarth.asp
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Education-Teachers
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Gosselin, Dave
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email dgosselin2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8919
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=42
Project Information
Title Developing an Online Master's Degree Program for K-12 Science Teachers
Other(s) College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, College of Education and Human Services, Extended Education and Outreach 
Description

In Nebraska there are 14,600 elementary teachers who are responsible for 151,400 K-5 students; yet these teachers may have had only minimal academic preparation in science. This project will build the online master's program, develop curriculum and courses, recruit and retain teachers to participate in the project, and evaluate their progress. Course tools include textbooks, homework, computer software, examinations, and online discussions with instructors and other teachers, as well as evaluations. The advantages of this approach is that teachers can participate in the class when and where it is most convenient for them, making a master's degree accessible for teachers in underserved rural areas, and those unable to travel to a college or university location. Others who may benefit from this program are pre-service elementary education majors and home-school instructors.

Click here to watch a video about the online master's degree program for K-12 science teachers

Project Support Toyota USA Foundation
Project Website http://casnronline.unl.edu/web/casnr-online/about-scienceforeducators
Report
Current Status Continuing
Topic Extension
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Hu, Qi (Steve)
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email qhu2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6642
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=54
Project Information
Title Farm Smart: A Climate and Weather Product Resource for Enhancing Production Decisions
Description

The Farm Smart website helps agricultural producers learn about and use climate and weather products to make farming decisions. Many of these products are available on other websites, however these websites generally say very little about how the climate and weather information should be used. This site provides producers with links to:

  • observed % of soil water content
  • soil water accumulation
  • five-day precipitation forecasts
  • five-day temperature forecasts
  • daily wind predictions
  • meteogram

The site also describes how these products may be used to make decisions about irrigation, insurance, planting, spraying, and harvesting. On-line training modules will soon be available so producers can practice how to use these products.

Project Support National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Transition of Research Applications to Climate Service (TRACS) Program
Project Website http://driftwood.unl.edu/farmsmart/index.php
Report
Current Status Website Available
Topic Extension
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Kranz, Bill
Unit Northeast Research and Extension Center
Email wkranz1@unl.edu
Phone 402-475-3857
Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/web/bse/wkranz1
Project Information
Title Nebraska Energy Extension Partnership
Other(s) Suat Irmak, Biological Systems Engineering, sirmak2@unl.edu 
Description

The Nebraska Energy Office and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will create a partnership to enhance adoption of energy efficient practices. The Nebraska Energy Extension Partnership--Agricultural Efficiency Nexus: Energy, Water, and Food will establish a framework using the following objectives:

  • Establishing a partnership between the Energy Office and UNL Extension to identify opportunities to enhance the knowledge and adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy systems, tools, technologies and business practices to reduce the use of energy in homes, businesses, farms, and ranches through a series of technical assistance, transformational education, and agriculture-based demonstration and pilot projects
  • Expanding the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Demonstration Network to include a cobenefit of quantified water and energy savings and extend technical assistance and transformational educational programming to 100 new cooperating producers resulting in savings of more than 650,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.
  • Developing an energy and efficiency rating system for irrigation components modeled after ENERGY STAR® and increasing awareness of the benefits of purchasing energy efficient equipment for agricultural purposes.
  • Augment the State’s existing capacity to provide training and education on the recently adopted 2009 International Energy Conservation Code and residential weatherization assistance by coordinating with UNL Extension to implement transformational education methods across the State of Nebraska.
Project Support Nebraska Energy Office
Project Website http://www.neo.ne.gov/projectsummary.pdf
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Groundwater
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Aiken, J. David
Unit Agricultural Economics
Email daiken@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-1848
Web Page http://agecon.unl.edu/aiken
Project Information
Title Hydrologically Connected Ground Water and Designation of Fully Appropriated and Over-Appropriated Basins: A Legal Analysis
Description

For many years Nebraska ground water managers and policy makers assumed that if ground water levels were not declining, the ground water supply was in balance. During the Republican River Compact litigation, some managers and policy makers learned that baseflow reduction would not necessarily be reflected in ground water level declines. Changes to Nebraska ground water management statutes require the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to designate river basins or stream segments as being fully appropriated (FA) or over-appropriated (OA). In making the FA/OA determination the DNR must consider projected reductions in baseflow resulting from current and projected ground water use. This work traces how the better understanding of baseflow dynamics has led to revised ground water management statutes and objectives in Nebraska, and will probe possible implications of FA/OA stream designation.

More on this research in the Nebraska Law Review

Project Support n/a
Project Website
Report
Current Status n/a
Topic Groundwater
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Burbach, Mark
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email mburbach1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8210
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=268
Project Information
Title An Integrated Real-Time Groundwater-Level Monitoring Network to Support Drought Impact Assessment and Mitigation Programs
Other(s) Byrav Ramamurthy, Computer Science and Engineering, bramamurthy2@unl.edu; Cody L. Knutson, School of Natural Resourcses / National Drought Mitigation Center, cknutson1@unl.edu; Yuyan Xue (Ph.D. Student), Department of Computer Science and Engineering, yxue@cse.unl.edu 
Description This state-wide real-time groundwater monitoring network will employ satellite technology to report groundwater level data from 52 locations; data from 13 locations is currently available on the project web site. This data will be incorporated into state and national drought-monitoring archives to improve drought planning and response capacity. The development of a cost-effective groundwater-level monitoring network that can provide fast, reliable data will allow agricultural producers and other decision-makers to better plan for, recognize, deal with, and document multiple-year droughts.
Project Support U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency
Project Website http://snr5.unl.edu/realtimewater/
Report
Current Status Completed - article in preparation
Topic Groundwater
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Burbach, Mark
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email mburbach1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8210
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=268
Project Information
Title Statewide Groundwater-Level Monitoring Program
Other(s) Jesse Korus, School of Natural Resources, jkorus3@unl.edu; Aaron Young, School of Natural Resources, ayoung3@unl.edu 
Description

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Statewide Groundwater-Level Monitoring Program collects, evaluates and manages water-level data from monitoring agencies in Nebraska and disseminates spatial-temporal water level data in multiple platforms that enable responsible management of Nebraska's ground water resources. The program is committed to high quality, unbiased scholarly research and service. The program's data and products form a statewide information database and infrastructure that can be used by other governmental agencies, the private sector, the public, and the global community.

Spring 2011 to Spring 2012 - From the spring of 2011 to the spring of 2012 about an equal number of groundwater rises and declines were recorded in wells throughout the state. Rises were recorded in 54% of wells, with rises of greater than one foot measured in 18% of all wells. The largest contiguous area of the state with a groundwater level increase greater than one foot occurred in the central Sand Hills where precipitation was 120-160% of the 30 year average.

Groundwater-level declines were recorded in 46% of measured wells, with declines of greater than one foot occurring in 15% of all wells. Most areas of groundwater level declines occurred along the Missouri River, and in the northeast portion of the state. Extremely high water levels on the Missouri River in 2009 and 2010 caused groundwater level increases in wells immediately adjacent to the river. With reduced flows during 2011, wells in the Missouri River Valley dropped on average two to five feet.

Spring 2000 to Spring 2009 - Large parts of Nebraska experienced drought conditions from 2000 through 2006. By 2006-2007, groundwater levels had declined by at least one foot over almost the entire state, and at least 5 feet to more than 25 feet in areas of major irrigation development. As of Spring 2009, widespread areas of 5 or more feet of decline still existed in the southwest, south-central, the panhandle, and the north-central. Declines in the southwest were most severe in Chase, Dundy, Lincoln, and Perkins Counties. Declines of more than 25 feet occurred in the vicinity of Lake McConaughy in Keith County. Declines in the panhandle were most severe in Cheyenne County near Sidney, in Box Butte County, and in Sheridan County near Gordon. The largest declines in the east north-central were northwest of O’Neill in Holt County. Declines of up to 15 feet occurred in central Colfax County in the northeast. The east south-central area was mostly below pre-drought levels in 2009, with the largest declines occurring in Hamilton, Polk, northern Clay, and northern York Counties.

Predevelopment to Spring 2009 - Spring 2009 groundwater levels continue to indicate long-term declines and rises in certain areas of Nebraska, the largest occurring in the southwest and in the panhandle. The largest groundwater-level declines from predevelopment to spring 2009 - declines of over 70 feet - have occurred in Chase County in the southwest and Box Butte County in the panhandle. Groundwater levels in portions of Dundy and Perkins counties in the southwest have declined up to 70 feet. The largest groundwater-level rises from predevelopment - rises of over 70 feet - have occurred in portions of Gosper and Phelps Counties.

Project Support Cooperation and assistance provided by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District; U.S. Geological Survey; the following Natural Resources Districts - Lower Republican, Middle Republican, Upper Republican, Upper Big Blue, Little Blue, Lower Big Blue, Lower Platte South, Lower Platte North, Central Platte, Twin Platte, North Platte, South Platte, Lower Niobrara, Middle Niobrara, Upper Niobrara-White, Lower Loup, Upper Loup, Lower Elkhorn, Upper Elkhorn, Papio-Missouri River, Lewis and Clark, Nehamah, and Tri-Basin; and the land-owners on whose property the groundwater-level data was collected.
Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/data/water/groundwatermaps.asp
Report
Current Status Report Published December 2012, Available via Nebraska Maps and More
Topic Groundwater
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Howard, Les
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email lhoward3@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-9192
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/staff-member.asp?pid=536
Project Information
Title Nebraska Statewide Test-hole Database Retrieval System
Description The Nebraska statewide test-hole database contains information for about 5,500 test holes drilled since 1930 by the Conservation and Survey Division (CSD), School of Natural Resources (SNR), University of Nebraska, and cooperating agencies. Test-hole location data, as well as lithologic descriptions, stratigraphic interpretations and geophysical log records are included in the database. In addition, CSD/SNR maintains an extensive collection of geologic samples obtained from the drilling process. The retrieval system is designed so that the user may extract and download only the data that is desired. During the download process, several files may be created and made available to the user to transfer to their computer. An option is also provided to download the entire test-hole database.
Project Support n/a
Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/data/index2.asp
Report
Current Status Continuous
Topic Groundwater
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Spalding, Mary Exner
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email mspalding1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-7547
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=111
Project Information
Title Occurrence of Pesticides and Nitrate in Nebraska's Ground Water
Other(s) Roy Spalding, Agronomy and Horticulture, rspalding1@unl.edu 
Description

Concern for human health is the reason for this assessment of the quality of Nebraska's ground water. In 1990 almost all of Nebraska's 330,000 rural households and 84% of the state's public water supplies relied on ground water to meet drinking water needs. Water consumers in Nebraska and throughout the country were concerned with the quality of their drinking water and the risk of harmful health effects. The widespread use of large quantities of nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides and their potential for contaminating ground water cause nitrate and pesticides to be the contaminants of greatest concern to water consumers in Nebraska. In 2007 95% of the state's public water supplies relied on groundwater to meet drinking water needs. Groundwater continues to be Nebraska's most vital natural resource and it is essential that its quality be preserved.

Project Support n/a
Project Website
Report
Current Status Report Published 1990, Available via Nebraska Maps and More
Topic Groundwater
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Spalding, Mary Exner
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email mspalding1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-7547
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=111
Project Information
Title Quality-Assessed Agrichemical Contaminant Database for Nebraska Ground Water
Description

The database contains ground-water nitrate and pesticide data that have been compiled from federal, state and local agencies and the University of Nebraska; screened for essential data elements; evaluated using established criteria; and assigned a quality flag that corresponds to one of five quality assessment levels. Each quality assessment level has criteria for the evaluation of well location, well characteristics, sampling procedure and sample preservation, analytical method, field quality control, and laboratory quality control. Level 1 data meet the minimum standards for acceptable data while level 5 data are the most defensible. The criteria for evaluating the nitrate and pesticide data are presented in tables in the metadata. The user-friendly format allows the data to be input into a wide range of applications and easily imported into Geographic Information Systems. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality provide both direction and financial support for the clearinghouse.

Project Support Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
Project Website http://dnrdata.dnr.ne.gov/clearinghouse/index.asp
Report
Current Status Continuous
Topic Groundwater
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Spalding, Roy
Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
Email rspalding1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8214
Web Page http://agronomy.unl.edu/spalding
Project Information
Title Environmental Impact of Catastrophic Ethanol Releases
Description

This project assesses the environmental impacts of catastrophic ethanol releases and evaluates appropriate remedial strategies. Impacts to soils and groundwater are being investigated at sites in South Hutchinson, Kansas and Balaton and Cambria, Minnesota. Monitoring wells have been installed and groundwater samples analyzed for ethanol, terminal electron acceptors (nitrate, sulfate), chloride, and methane, ethane, and ethene. Because the denaturant is gasoline and contains benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX), BTEX are being analyzed in all samples. The fate and transport of ethanol and BTEX within the capillary fringe is a primary focus of the research. The thickness of the capillary fringe is being estimated by installing and monitoring neutron probe boreholes and soil tensiometers.

Click here for a journal article about long-term groundwater monitoring results at large, denatured ethanol plants

Project Support Nebraska Ethanol Board, IANR Agricultural Research Division
Project Website
Report
Current Status
Topic Hydraulics
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Guo, Junke
Unit Civil Engineering, UNO
Email jguo2@unl.edu
Phone 402-554-3873
Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/JunkeGuo.shtml
Project Information
Title Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Flow Simulation Lab at UNL
Description The FHWA Flow Simulation Lab at UNL is a trilateral collaboration between the Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, the Department of Energy Argonne National Lab, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The FHWA provides research funding and experimental facilities through the FHWA Hydraulics Lab in Washington D.C., the Argonne provides supercomputing facilities, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln provides expertise. The study of bridge hydraulics is important because flood-related threats are the primary threats to highway infrastructure in both Nebraska and the United States. Current projects include: 1) drag and lift of bridge deck in inundated flows; 2) drag and life of bridge deck in wave environments; 3) bridge pressure flow scour; 4) initiation of cohesive sediment; 5) nonuniform sediment transport. All these studies are conducted experimentally and computationally simultaneously.
Project Support Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, Department of Energy Argonne National Lab
Project Website
Report
Current Status Continuous
Topic Hydrology
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Rundquist, Donald
Unit Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies
Email drundquist1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-7536
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=103
Project Information
Title Nebraska Airborne Remote Sensing Program
Other(s) Rick Perk, CHAMP Project Manager, rperk1@unl.edu; Anatoly Gitelson, gitelson@calmit.unl.edu; Sunil Narumalani, sunil@calmit.unl.edu; Merlin Lawson, mlawson@calmit.unl.edu 
Description

CALMIT has joined forces with the UNL Department of Electrical Engineering and the UNO Aviation Institute to develop an aerial remote sensing research platform known as the Nebraska Airborne Remote Sensing Program (NARSP). A specially modified Piper Saratoga aircraft is being used as the base platform for deployment of a number of research grade remote sensing instruments. CALMIT's airborne remote sensing activities are centered around a suite of instruments associated with an AISA Eagle hyperspectral imaging system. This specific program is identified as CALMIT Hyperspectral Aerial Monitoring Program (CHAMP).

This technology has contributed to several projects:

  • To determine the condition and monitor the changing quality of Nebraska's 2500+ lakes and ponds - funded by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • To conduct a retrospective assessment of several different remote sensing platforms, with an emphasis on those remote sensing methods (e.g., airborne, Landsat, MODIS and MERIS) that most likely can be used for monitoring lakes routinely and operationally over a regional spatial extent - in collaboration with the North American Lake Management Society and the Universities of Minnesota and Wisconsin
  • To conduct remote sensing of coral communities.
  • To identify and delineate areas of noxious weeds and invasive species by using satellite imagery, hyperspectral aerial imagery, and GPS technology to aid in inventory surveys and mapping of these areas and assess the effectiveness of ongoing weed management actions.
  • To use airborne and satellite remote sensing systems to investigate and improve approaches to managing wheat streak mosaic (WSM), the most severe disease of winter wheat in the Great Plains.
Project Support Platform Development - National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; specific project support noted above when possible.
Project Website calmit.unl.edu/champ/index.php
Report
Current Status Continuous
Topic Invasive Species
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Allen, Craig
Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Email callen3@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-0229
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=647
Project Information
Title Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Program
Other(s) Carrie Decker, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, kdecker4@unl.edu 
Description

In 2011, invasive species technicians conducted boat inspections and surveyed boaters in order to gage public awareness of invasive species, to track where boaters are coming from and going to, and to educate boaters on aquatic invasive species prevention. Staff surveyed over 3,500 boaters from 18 different locations around the state. Survey results show that on average, 74% of boaters in Nebraska have heard of zebra mussels. The majority of interviewees in Central and Eastern Nebraska heard of aquatic invasive species via the media following the zebra mussel infestation at Zorinsky Lake in Omaha. However, few boaters seemingly take the time to inspect their boats for aquatic invasive species (averaging only 34% state-wide) suggesting a need to focus our education efforts.

In addition, it appears that at Lake McConaughy (in western Nebraska), nearly 50% of the boaters are from out-of-state (primarily Colorado, but also Iowa, Kansas, Wyoming, Oklahoma). In Central and Eastern Nebraska, only 16% of the boaters are from out of state—Kansas, South Dakota, Iowa, etc. The shaded areas on the map indicate where boaters are visiting from. States outlined in red have known zebra and/or quagga mussel infestations.

During 2011 surveys, technicians educated the public about the problems associated with aquatic invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Over 15,000 individuals were educated and trained on Nebraska’s Clean, Drain, and Dry Protocol (which is also promoted in neighboring states, e.g., Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, South Dakota, etc.). Staff provided outreach at over a dozen fishing tournaments, targeting boaters coming from other states. In 2011, technicians completed over 350 voluntary watercraft inspections, and intercepted 2 high-risk boats that were subsequently decontaminated before launching into Nebraska waters. Voluntary watercraft inspections and decontaminations can help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by intercepting high-risk boats, and by educating the public during the inspection process.

In 2012, seven invasive species technicians are continuing with the aquatic invasive species prevention program. Warm weather spurred an increase in boating activity across the state. Over 700 boaters were educated about aquatic invasive species and conducted nearly 350 boat inspections so far. Monitoring and education efforts continue through August 2012. In April 2012, the reopening of Zorinsky Lake (near Omaha) was celebrated after the successful treatment for zebra mussels during the past two years.

GOALS:

  • Decrease the risk of aquatic invasive species introduction into Nebraska by implementing a boat inspection and decontamination program
  • Increase public awareness of aquatic invasive species through an integrated outreach/education program
  • Continue aquatic invasive species monitoring efforts to help focus prevention efforts
  • Increase local and regional collaboration in the prevention of aquatic invasive species
  • Project Support Nebraska Environmental Trust, USFWS Aquatic Nuisance Species Taskforce, Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District
    Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/necoopunit/research.main.html#ais
    Report
    Current Status Continuing
    Topic Invasive Species
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Allen, Craig
    Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
    Email callen3@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-0229
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=647
    Project Information
    Title Monitoring, Mapping and Risk Assessment for Non-Indigenous Invasive Species in Nebraska
    Other(s) Karie Decker, Nebraska Invasive Species Project Coordinator, invasives@unl.edu 
    Description

    Biological invasions are a growing threat to both human enterprise and ecological systems. This project provides resources to the public and private sector on: 1) the potential spread and impact of non-indigenous species in Nebraska; 2) actual and potential maps of non-indigenous species range (habitat specific maps at high resolution); 3) information regarding identification and management of potential invaders; 4) centralized information on management and impacts and potential spread of currently established non-indigenous species (a web portal); and 5) outreach within Nebraska to county-level governments and individual stakeholders regarding the management, surveillance and control of non-indigenous species. On February 7-8, 2008 a conference on non-indigenous species impacts, spread and management was held, focusing on state-of-our-knowledge and coordination of disparate management and information-provisioning efforts with a goal towards unification of disparate efforts.

    This project is meant to build momentum towards a cohesive non-indigenous species biosecurity and management system in Nebraska that is integrated and relatively seamless across institutional boundaries. Spatially - based risk assessments that focus on non-indigenous invasive species impacts on at - risk native species and communities in Nebraska have been initiated with funding from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The results and predictive models generated by this project will be delivered and made widely available to policy makers, management practitioners and landowners in Nebraska. Additional general information about potential invasive species and their impacts will be made easily accessible. Most of the goals listed above will produce and disseminate products that are dynamic, with interactive elements for the public and managers, including mapping of habitat-specific current and potential distributions of invasive species as well as a portal through which the public can inform the entities responsible for management of invasive species occurrence and spread - and vice versa.

    Project Support U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Environmental Trust
    Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/invasives
    Report
    Current Status Continuing
    Topic Invasive Species
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Allen, Craig
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email callen3@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-0229
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=647
    Project Information
    Title Invasive Species Monitoring Network
    Description

    As identified in Nebraska's Natural Legacy Plan, invasive species represent a growing threat to Nebraska's environment and economy, and can have widespread impacts for a variety of natural resource users, including: landowners, power industries, municipalities, and recreationalists. Species such as zebra mussels, leafy spurge, and common reed (Phragmites) are devastating ecosystems in Nebraska and neighboring states. To help mitigate these impacts, the Nebraska Invasive Species Projects seeks funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for a critical portion of several our projects that improve natural habitats in Nebraska and reduce stresses to native ecosystems. Our project objectives are to: 1) Decrease the risk of invasive species introduction and spread through volunteer training workshops and targeted messaging across multiple user groups; 2) Develop and implement a next generation invasive species education strategy; 3) Evaluate the effectiveness of outreach in invasive species prevention through focused inventory and monitoring and through surveys designed to assess awareness; and 4) Increase local and regional collaboration in the prevention and control of invasive species.

    This grant supports our proposed projects by providing a portion of the funds for outreach materials and activities (including those to support volunteer training workshops and K-12 teaching kits), monitoring and prevention equipment, and a portion of the salary needed for seasonal staff and related travel. The specific projects outlined below will provide a broader capacity for the prevention of invasive species in Nebraska and will be achieved through the collaborative efforts of various agencies and organizations (federal, state, and local), as well as private citizens. Through this three-year project, we estimate that over 20,000 individuals will receive direct beneficial information about invasive species prevention (through workshops, educational tools, surveys, and websites), providing a tremendous effort towards maintaining the health of Nebraska's natural resources.

    Project Support Nebraska Environmental Trust
    Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/invasives/
    Report
    Current Status Underway
    Topic Invasive Species
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Allen, Craig (advisor)
    Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
    Email callen3@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-0229
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=647
    Project Information
    Title The Effect of Common Reed (Phragmites australis) on River Otter (Lontra canadensis) Habitat Use
    Other(s) Amy Williams, amy_ruth18@hotmail.com; Sam Wilson, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, sam.wilson@nebraska.gov 
    Description The river otter (Lontra canadensis) is a threatened species in Nebraska and little is known about its local ecology. The recent invasion of the Platte River by the common reed (Phragmites australis) has altered the riverscape and could have negative effects on otters. Since the reintroduction of river otters to several of Nebraska's river basins beginning in the late 1980's, there have been no quantitative studies examining the status of the population or habitat use of river otters in the state. The recent invasion of P. australis in the Big Bend region of the Platte River has made the need to fill this knowledge gap more critical. We are examining the effects of P. australis on river otters by determining if otters use river ways dominated by P.australis or den in areas of P. australis more or less than expected relative to availability. Sixteen otters were trapped, radio tagged, and tracked between 2006 and 2009. 517 den/resting locations were identified, 127 of which were unique locations. Den/resting site habitat use was compared to availability to determine if otters were using P. australis in proportion to availability. Females use unique sites in P. australis more than expected but males do not. When all locations were analyzed, both males and female used P. australis in proportion to availability. P. australis provides cover for females and is likely used for resting locations when traveling with pups. Information on otter abundance and habitat use from this study will support the creation and implementation of a state river otter management plan and ensure the persistence of a viable otter population in Nebraska.

    Project Support

    Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
    Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/necoopunit/research.main.html#river_otters
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Invasive Species
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Huddle, Julie
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email jhuddle2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-8556
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/vitae/faculty/2011/huddle-julie-cv-11012010.pdf
    Project Information
    Title Effects of eastern redcedar on the hydrology of cottonwood stands in the Republican River Basin
    Other(s) Tala Awada, School of Natural Resources, tawada2@unl.edu, Derrel Martin, Biological Systems Engineering, dmartin1@unl.edu, Xinhua Zhou, School of Natural Resources, xzhou3@kumc.edu, Sue Ellen Pegg, School of Natural Resources, spegg2@unl.edu, Scott Josiah, Nebraska Forest Service, sjosiah2@unl.edu 
    Description

    This study examines how much water trees use in different forests. In riparian forests, invasive plants affect the quantity of water infiltrating and running off land by intercepting water and transpiring water. Sap flow sensors are being used to monitor how removal of invasive tree species affects tree-level and stand-level evapotranspiration. In addition, vegetation transects will reveal how understory plants respond to invasive tree removal. Researchers are gathering data using eddy covariance towers and satellite images. Study results will be used to test whether removing eastern Red Cedar and Russian Olive Trees can significantly improve water yields.

    In regards to the understory response following the removal of invasive woody species from a cottonwood riparian forest, this research shows that:

    • Removing invasive species increased the frequency of invasive form and warm season grasses.
    • Species diversity increased when invasive tree species were removed.
    • Changes in understory species following thinning were most pronounced where eastern redcedars were removed.
    • Light level differences observed under different canopy types likely explain differences in understory species response to thinning. This will be examined in future studies.
    Project Support Burlington Northern Endowment, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, Nebraska Natural Resources Districts in the Republican River Valley, Southwest Nebraska Resource Conservation and Development (RCandD) Council Inc., Nebraska Southwest Weed Management Area
    Project Website
    Report Photographs of Understory.pdf
    Current Status Published in the Great Plains Research 2011 21: 49-71
    Topic Invasive Species
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Soh, Leen-Kiat
    Unit Department of Computer Science and Engineering
    Email lksoh@cse.unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-6738
    Web Page http://cse.unl.edu/~lksoh/
    Project Information
    Title Building Knowledge Discovery and Information Tools for Collaborative Systems to Adaptively Manage Uncertain Hydrological Resources
    Description Our overall objective is to evolve data to information, knowledge to decision in a systematic, scalable, elegant framework. Specifically, we perform research in (1) data mining to find interesting spatio-temporal patterns to gain insights to domain properties and characteristics as well as to identify processes that can be automated for large scale, and heterogeneous datasets; (2) data fusion to integrate multiple spatio-temporal data sources to improve accuracy, precision, and completeness and also at the data level and the quality of data level for datasets of different quality and fitness of use; and (3) data support to facilitate cost-effective and intelligent use of spatio-temporal data sources, specifically for determining the relative importance of a dataset with respect to the application, the other datasets, and the spatial-temporal relationships, for systematic management of both data and computational resources. Furthermore, we have also coined the term "data support" or "spatial data support" as the process of determining the information utility of a data source to help decide which one to include or exclude for cost-effectiveness. In other words, "spatial data support" aims to label data sources with a "support" degree systematically for decision makers. We apply our research findings to model hydrological resources and processes.
    Project Support National Science Foundation IIS Division of Information and Intelligent Systems
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Livestock Manure Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Gilley, John E.
    Unit Biological Systems Engineering
    Email john.gilley@ars.usda.gov
    Phone 402-472-2975
    Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/faculty/Gilley.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Nitrogen and Phosphorus Concentrations of Runoff as Affected by Plowing
    Other(s) David Marx, Statistics, david.marx@unl.edu 
    Description

    The excessive application of manure on cropland areas can cause nutrients to accumulate near the soil surface. This study was conducted to measure the effects of moldboard plowing on the redistribution of nutrients within the soil profile and nutrient transport by overland flow. Composted beef cattle manure was applied at dry weights of 0, 68, 105, 142, and 178 Mg ha-1 to a silty clay loam soil and then incorporated by disking. Selected plots were moldboard plowed 244 days later to a depth of approximately 23 cm. Soil samples for analysis of water-soluble phosphorus, Bray and Kurtz No.1 phosphorus (Bray-1 P), NO3-N and NH4-N were collected at depths of 0 - 5, 5 - 15, and 15 -30 cm before and after moldboard plowing. Three 30-min simulated rainfall events, separated by 24-hour intervals, were then applied. Dissolved phosphorus (DP), NO3-N, NH4-N, and total nitrogen (TN) content of runoff were measured from 0.75 wide x 2.0 m long plots. Bray-1 P content at the 0-5 cm soil depth was reduced from 200 to 48.0 mg kg-1 and NO3-N content decreased from 9.49 to 2.52 mg kg-1 as a result of the moldboard plowing operation. Consequently, mean concentrations of DP and NO3-N in runoff from the moldboard plow plots decreased from 1.76 and 2.29 mg L-1 under no-till conditions to 0.03 and 0.60 mg L-1. Thus, the experimental results suggest that moldboard plowing can significantly reduce concentrations of DP and NO3-N in runoff from land application areas.

    More on this research in the Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status n/a
    Topic Livestock Manure Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Gilley, John E.
    Unit Biological Systems Engineering
    Email john.gilley@ars.usda.gov
    Phone 402-472-2975
    Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/faculty/Gilley.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Water Quality Characteristics of Runoff from Land Application Areas
    Other(s) David B. Marx, Statistics, dmarx1@unl.edu; Elaine D. Berry, Food Science and Technology, eberry3@unl.edu; Roger A. Eigenberg, USDA-ARS, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, reigenberg2@unl.edu; Bryan L. Woodbury, USDA-ARS, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, bwoodbury2@unl.edu. 
    Description

    Nebraska's livestock industry accounts for more than 65% of the state's total agricultural receipts of approximately $11.5 billion. Annual manure production in Nebraska is approximately 27 million tons. Runoff from cattle feedlots may contain nutrients, microorganisms, organic materials, and sediments. The physical and chemical characteristics of runoff from beef cattle feedlot surfaces are influenced by animal age and condition, animal density, animal size, climate, diet, feedlot surface condition, handling and storage of manure, and soil type. Improved procedures for identifying nutrient and microbial runoff potential could result in establishment of best management practices for feedlots.

    Project Objectives:
    1. To compare selected chemical and physical properties, and nutrient and microbial transport in runoff, from selected feedlot pen locations.
    2. To determine the effects of unconsolidated surface material (USM) and consolidated subsurface material (CSM) on runoff nutrient and microbial transport.
    3. To correlate runoff nutrient and microbial transport to selected chemical and physical characteristics of USM and CSM.

    This research activity is being conducted as part of the National Phosphorus Research Project (NPRP). To develop a common database allowing comparison of results among research locations, standard data collection equipment, procedures, and protocols have been established. Simulated rainfall events were applied during the summer of 2006 to 0.75 m wide by 2 m long plots established within feedlot pens located at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center, NE. Results from this investigation were recently published in Transactions of the ASABE 51(2): 675-684.

    On a Sharpsburg silty clay loam soil located near Lincoln, Nebraska, DP concentrations of runoff were found to increase in an exponential fashion from 0.18 to 3.37 mg L-1 as soil Bray P content varied from 50 to 300 mg L-1. As the length of time since manure application increased from 2 to 350 days, the mean concentration of DP declined from 2.16 to 0.51 mg L-1 on beef cattle manure treatments and from 0.77 to 0.28 mg L-1 on swine manure treatments. Manure application rate, residual soil nutrient content, length of time since the previous manure application, soil characteristics, and runoff conditions were all found to influence the DP concentration of runoff.

    Phosphorus-based manure and compost application was found to be an environmentally sound management system. The DP concentration of runoff following N-based manure application can be an environmental concern when applied under no-till conditions without incorporation. With proper application and management, manure can serve as a valuable nutrient source and soil amendment without causing adverse environmental impacts.

    Project presentation at the 2008 Water Colloquium

    Project Support USDA-Agricultural Research Service
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Ongoing
    Topic Livestock Manure Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Gilley, John E.
    Unit Biological Systems Engineering
    Email john.gilley@ars.usda.gov
    Phone 402-472-2975
    Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/faculty/Gilley.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Spatial Variations in Nutrient and Microbial Transport from Feedlot Surfaces
    Other(s) Elaine D. Berry, Microbiologist, USDA-ARS, Roger A. Eigenberg, USDA-ARS, David B. Marx, Department of Statistics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bryan Woodbury, USDA-ARS 
    Description

    Nutrient and microbial transport by runoff may vary at different locations within a beef cattle feedlot. If the areas making the largest contributions to nutrient and microbial transport can be identified, it may be possible to institute site-specific management practices to reduce runoff nutrient and microbial transport. The objectives of this study were to:

    1. measure selected feedlot soil properties and nutrient and microbial transport in runoff from various feedlot locations,
    2. compare the effects of unconsolidated surface materials (USM) (loose manure pack) and consolidated subsurface materials (CSM) (compacted manure and underlying layers) on nutrient and microbial transport, and
    3. determine if nutrient and microbial transport in runoff are correlated to selected feedlot soil characteristics.

    Simulated rainfall events were applied to 0.75 m wide by 2 m long plots. No significant differences (P < 0.05) in feedlot soil characteristics or nutrient transport in runoff were found between USM and CSM. However, concentrations of E. coli were significantly greater in the USM than the CSM. Pen location was found to significantly influence feedlot soil measurements of Bray-1 P, calcium, chloride, copper, electrical conductivity (EC), loss on ignition, organic N, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur, total N (TN), water-soluble P, and zinc. Runoff measurements of dissolved phosphorus (DP), EC, and NH4-N were significantly influenced by pen location and were correlated to selected feedlot soil characteristics. Thus, it may be possible to estimate DP, EC, and NH4-N in runoff from selected feedlot soil parameters.

    More on this research in the Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Livestock Manure Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Gilley, John E.
    Unit Biological Systems Engineering
    Email john.gilley@ars.usda.gov
    Phone 402-472-2975
    Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/faculty/Gilley.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Narrow Grass Hedge Effects on Nutrient Transport Following Compost Application
    Other(s) David Marx, Statistics, david.marx@unl.edu 
    Description

    The placement of stiff-stemmed grass hedges on the contour along a hillslope has been shown to decrease nutrient transport in runoff. This study was conducted to measure the effectiveness of a narrow grass hedge in reducing runoff nutrient transport from plots with a range of soil nutrient values. Composted beef cattle manure was applied at dry weights of 0, 68, 105, 142, and 178 Mg ha-1 to a silty clay loam soil and then incorporated by disking. Soil samples were collected 243 days later for analysis of water-soluble phosphorus (WSP), Bray and Kurtz No. 1 phosphorus (Bray-1 P), NO3-N, and NH4-N. Three 30 min simulated rainfall events, separated by 24 h intervals, were then applied. The transport of dissolved phosphorus (DP), total P (TP), NO3-N, NH4-N, total nitrogen (TN), runoff, and soil erosion were measured from 0.75 m wide x 4.0 m long plots. Compost application rate significantly affected soil measurements of WSP, Bray-1 P, and NO3-N content. The transport of DP, TP, NO3-N, NH4-N, TN, runoff, and soil erosion was reduced significantly on the plots with a grass hedge. Mean runoff rates on the hedge and no-hedge treatments were 17 and 29 mm, and erosion rates were 0.12 and 1.46 Mg ha-1, respectively. Compost application rate significantly affected the transport of DP, TP, and NO3-N in runoff. The experimental results indicate that stiff-stemmed grass hedges, planted at selected downslope intervals, can significantly reduce the transport of nutrients in runoff from areas with a range of soil nutrient values.

    More on this research in the Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Livestock Manure Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Gilley, John E.
    Unit Biological Systems Engineering
    Email john.gilley@ars.usda.gov
    Phone 402-472-2975
    Web Page http://watercenter.unl.edu/FacultyProfiles/Pages/GilleyJohn.asp
    Project Information
    Title Nutrient Concentrations of Runoff During the Year Following Manure Application
    Other(s) David Marx, Statistics, david.marx@unl.edu 
    Description

    Little information is currently available concerning temporal changes in nutrient transport following the addition of manure to cropland areas. This study was conducted to measure nutrient transport in runoff as affected by tillage and time following the application of beef cattle or swine manure to a site on which corn [Zea mays (L.)] was grown. Rainfall simulation tests were initiated 4, 32, 62, 123, and 354 days following land application. Three 30-min simulated rainfall events, separated by 24-hour intervals, were conducted at an intensity of approximately 70 mm hr-1. Dissolved phosphorus (DP), particulate phosphorus (PP), total phosphorus (TP), NO3-N, NH4-N, total nitrogen (TN), electrical conductivity (EC), and pH were measured from 0.75-m wide by 2-m long plots. Concentrations of DP, TP, and NH4-N, in general, declined throughout the year on both the no-till cattle and no-till swine manure treatments. Tillage did not significantly affect concentrations of DP, PP, TP, NH4-N or pH on the swine manure treatments, but significant variations in these variables were measured over time. Under no-till and tilled conditions on both the cattle and swine manure treatments, the smallest concentrations of DP, NO3-N, NH4-N, and TN occurred on the final test date. The increase in pH of runoff during the study is attributed to the addition of CaCO3 to the rations of beef cattle and swine. Tillage appeared to have less of an impact on runoff nutrient transport from cropland areas than length of time since manure application.

    More on this research in the Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Livestock Manure Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Gilley, John E.
    Unit Biological Systems Engineering
    Email john.gilley@ars.usda.gov
    Phone 402-472-2975
    Web Page http://watercenter.unl.edu/FacultyProfiles/Pages/GilleyJohn.asp
    Project Information
    Title Long-term effects of manure application on soil properties and nutrient transport
    Description

    Manure can be effectively used for crop production and soil improvement because it contains nutrients and organic matter. Soil physical properties such as infiltration, aggregation, and bulk density can be improved by long-term manure application. Changes in soil properties can have a substantial impact on runoff, soil loss, and nutrient transport from cropland areas receiving long-term manure application. If the beneficial effects of long-term manure application can be quantified, its value as a nutrient source and soil amendment can be enhanced. However, the application of manure at rates that exceed crop nutrient requirements can result in phosphorus (P) accumulation in the soil and increased nutrient transport by overland flow. If the long-term effects of manure application on nutrient transport by overland flow can be estimated, remediation measures to minimize nutrient delivery to surface waters can be implemented.

    The objectives of this project were to: 1) determine the long-term effects of manure application on selected soil properties, and 2) measure the effects of long-term manure application on nutrient transport by overland flow. Duplicate soil samples (32) were collected from the top 0.1 m of selected plots of a long-term (since 1953) manure and fertilizer application field experiment and later placed in 1m2 soil pans. Manure and fertilizer were mixed with 16 of the soil samples, while no manure was applied to the other 16 soil samples (long-term effect). Simulated rainfall was then applied to the soil during initial and wet (24 hours later) events. A second study was conducted to assemble and summarize historical information quantifying the effects of manure application on runoff and soil loss resulting from natural precipitation events. In a third study, composted beef cattle manure or inorganic fertilizer were added over a four-year period to meet P or nitrogen (N) requirements for corn and incorporated following application. Field tests were then conducted to identify the residual effects of compost applications on nutrients in runoff after four years of corn production following the last compost application.

    The long term (since 1953) application of manure to a Tripp sandy loam soil located near Mitchell, Nebraska increased soil P, NO3-N, and EC levels in the top 0.1 m of the soil profile. After four years of corn production following the last N-based compost application to a Sharpsburg silty clay loam soil located near Mead, Nebraska, soil P content, EC, and pH were significantly greater than the check plots. For selected locations at which manure was added over several years, runoff was reduced from 2 to 62%, and soil loss decreased from 15 to 65% compared to non-manured sites. Runoff and soil loss values were reduced substantially as long-term manure application rates increased. The long-term application of manure had no significant effect on runoff concentrations of dissolved P, particulate P and total P when the last manure application was the previous year. When the last manure application was the previous year, similar concentrations of dissolved P, particulate P, and total P were measured on the manure and no-manure treatments. Four years following the last application of compost to meet P or N requirements for corn, concentrations and total amounts of P in runoff were similar on compost and inorganic fertilizer plots. The long-term application of manure at rates required to meet crop nutrient requirements did not increase P transport to levels greater than those occurring on inorganic fertilizer plots.

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status n/a
    Topic Livestock Manure Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Gilley, John E.
    Unit Biological Systems Engineering
    Email john.gilley@ars.usda.gov
    Phone 402-472-2975
    Web Page http://watercenter.unl.edu/FacultyProfiles/Pages/GilleyJohn.asp
    Project Information
    Title Cropping and tillage strategies to minimize off-site impacts of excess nutrients in soil
    Description

    If the conditions under which residue materials leach or sorb nutrients can be identified, it may be possible to adopt cropping and management practices that reduce nutrient delivery by overland flow. Conservation practices such as contouring, strip cropping, conservation tillage, terraces, and buffer strips could be utilized to optimize nutrient sorption and storage by crop residues. Nutrients sorbed by residue materials could then be maintained and utilized by subsequent crops rather than transported in runoff causing off-site water quality degradation.

    When manure is repeatedly applied at rates that exceed crop nutrient requirements, nutrients accumulate near the soil surface. It is possible to redistribute the nutrient enriched surface layer throughout the upper soil profile by plowing. As the nutrient content of surface soil is reduced, the transport of nutrients by overland flow should also decrease.

    The objectives of this project were to: 1) measure leaching and sorption of phosphorus (P) by corn, soybean, and winter wheat residue, and 2) characterize the effects of a single plowing operation on nutrient transport by overland flow from a soil with excessive nutrients. A laboratory study was conducted to simulate the widely varying overland flow-crop residue interactions occurring in the field.

    Measurements were made of leaching and sorption of nitrogen and phosphorus by corn, soybean, and winter wheat residues placed in solutions containing inorganic nutrients. Variables used were type of residue material, nutrient constituent, solution concentration, and residue / solution contact time. For a given residue material and nutrient constituent, four different solution concentrations were used and changes in solution concentration over five selected residue / solution contact times were measured. In a separate experiment, varying rates of manure were added to a Sharpsburg soil in the Fall of 2002 to provide a range of soil test P values. The following summer, half of the 40 plots were plowed while the others were left undisturbed. Standard procedures were then used to measure P transport by runoff from both the plowed and non-plowed experimental plots. Leaching and sorption of P by crop residue was influenced by type of residue material, nutrient constituent, solution concentration, residue solution contact time, and length of time following harvest. For corn and wheat residue materials, the amount of P leached was greatest immediately after harvest. The quantity of nutrients leached / sorbed by residue materials increased as residue / solution contact time became greater. Crop residue materials leached or sorbed nutrients in runoff depending upon existing cropping, management and hydrologic conditions.

    It may be possible to adopt residue management and conservation practices that minimize off-site impacts of excess nutrients in soil. Before the experimental plots were plowed, Bray soil P values at the 0-5 cm depth ranged from 53 to 414 'g g-1. Following the plowing operation, Bray soil P values at the 0-5 cm depth varied from 16 to 77 'g g-1. After the plowing operation, DP concentrations of runoff from the plots with former elevated surface soil P levels were similar to the control plots where no manure was applied. Plowing should only be used as a remedial measure to rectify former improper manure management practices, not as a means to allow continued excessive nutrient application.

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status n/a
    Topic Livestock Manure Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Wortmann, Charles
    Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
    Email cwortmann2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-2909
    Web Page http://agronomy.unl.edu/wortmann
    Project Information
    Title Livestock Manure Management
    Other(s) Tom Holman, Scottsbluff County, tholman1@unl.edu; Larry Howard, Cuming County Extension, lhoward1@unl.edu; Charles Shapiro, Northeast Research and Extension Center, cshapiro1@unl.edu, Leslie Johnson, Northeast Research and Extension Center, leslie.johnson@unl.edu 
    Description

    The Extension Manure Management Team hosts educational programs on water quality issues for Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs). These programs are typically regional in nature and attract livestock producers from a 100 mile radius. Workshops generally address the following topics or education needs:

    • Land Application Training to meet certification requirements for the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Title 130
    • Phosphorus Index Assessment - introduces tools to meet new Title 130 regulations effective January 1, 2007
    • Value of Manure - designed to limit concentrations of manure and improve nutrient utilization
    • Vegetative Treatment Systems - introduces alternative technology for managing runoff from open lots, especially suited to small livestock operations
    • Water Quality Implications of Feeding Ethanol By-Products
    • Updates of Regulations
    • Software Tools for Nutrient Management Planning

    In 2009 Land Application Training Days were held using on-line video conferencing software so that attendees could participate in the training from ten different county extension offices - Dawson, Custer, Scottsbluff, Boone-Nance, Clay, Colfax, Cuming, Gage, Phelps, and York. In 2007, Koelsch participated in a Feedlot Roundtable in Lexington and Broadwater on Title 130 and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confined AFO regulation updates.

    For the last seven years programs have been held in the West Point area. These programs help livestock producers and crop producers learn how to manage manure to provide needed nutrients without over application. Each livestock operator who has a NDEQ permit has to have training once in five years. Extension has served this need. Also, they have had marketing workshops to help manure suppliers find crop producers who want to buy/use the product. Information about the need for buffer areas around streams is also presented. In recent years training has emphasized use of the P-Index which assesses the risk of getting phosphorus into the waters of the state. All permit holders need to conduct a phosphorus assessment before manure application. Training has also included crop and livestock consultants who do most of these assessments.

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website http://water.unl.edu/manure
    Report
    Current Status Continuous
    Topic Pollution Prevention
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Burgin, Amy
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email aburgin2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-3491
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=1454#tab1
    Project Information
    Title Using a drought-enhanced nitrate pulse to understand stream N retention and processing
    Other(s) Terry Loecke, School of Natural Resources, tloecke2@unl.edu; Martin St. Clair, Coe College, Department of Chemistry, mstclair@coe.edu; Diego Riveros-Irequi, University of North Carolina, diegori@unc.edu 
    Description

    Nitrogen addition is a cornerstone of modern agriculture, but fertilization has impacted inland and coastal waters by increasing nitrogen concentrations, supporting excessive growth of aquatic plants, reducing oxygen concentrations, and triggering harmful algal blooms. Because of extreme drought in 2012, Midwestern soils have accumulated nitrogen that is expected to be driven into river networks by late summer or fall precipitation. This anticipated landscape-wide nitrogen pulse offers an immediate and unparalleled opportunity to record how nitrogen enters streams, and to quantify the transport, attenuation, and fate of nitrogen as it moves through stream networks. An existing stream monitoring network will be expanded and used to collect water samples during and after major precipitation events in fall 2012, taking advantage of a short-term opportunity to characterize nitrogen movement and processing in an agricultural landscape.

    Unintended consequences of fertilization are an increasingly important issue for resource managers. This project will add to our understanding of how nitrogen moves from agricultural lands into and through stream networks, and it will do so under climate conditions that are expected to be more common in the coming decades. Additionally, this project will support five early career scientists and a collaboration between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Iowa, and Coe College. Inclusion of Coe College will provide opportunities for undergraduate research and mentoring of undergraduate students by faculty and graduate students.

    Project Support National Science Foundation
    Project Website https://sites.google.com/site/burginlab/
    Report
    Current Status Underway
    Topic Pollution Prevention
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Dvorak, Bruce
    Unit Civil Engineering
    Email bdvorak1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-3431
    Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/academicunits/civil/faculty/dvorak.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Partners in Pollution Prevention (P3)
    Other(s) Valdeen Nelsen, Intern Project Associate, vnelsen2@unl.edu 
    Description

    UNL's P3 program has helped both area college students and Nebraska businesses since 1997. Undergraduate student interns provide one-to-one pollution prevention assistance to Nebraska businesses by performing waste assessments or other waste reduction projects and providing each client with a written report detailing waste minimization suggestions. Clients who have participated in this program over the years include water utilities, ag producers, dry cleaners and auto body shops, as well as large pharmaceutical and other large manufacturing plants. To meet clients' needs, the P3 program offers assistance to meet a wide range of types of projects. The overall goal of the projects is to provide assistance to clients to protect public health and the environment, by reducing waste (water, solid waste, hazardous waste, and energy) and reduce the risk (worker safety, contamination from spills, etc.) through a multi-media approach.

    The P3 program has made a difference to the bottom line of many Nebraska businesses. We have assisted a total of 621 clients from 1997 through 2012, while cooperating with a wide range of environmental and business assistance providers and partners. The program has worked in 83 different Nebraska communities ranging from Scottsbluff, to South Sioux City, to Omaha, helping Nebraska businesses save a potential $19.5 million dollars through waste reduction and resource conservation and divert over 212 million pounds of solid waste from landfills. Based on follow-up reassessments with 183 past clients, 40% of all recommendations made by the students were actually implemented.

    Unique to this program, P3 also has educational and outreach components. Over 178 interns have participated in the program since 1997 and thousands have heard the message that "Pollution Prevention means Good Business." The impact of the P3 Program can be seen in its threefold mission:

    OUTREACH

    Impact of the P3 Program in Outreach to Nebraska - 1997-2008

    • Businesses Assisted with New Work - 475
    • Businesses Assisted with Reassessment of Previous Work - 176
    • Communities Served - 65

    EDUCATION

    Impact of P3 Program in Pollution Prevention (P2) Education - 1997-2008

    • Student Interns Educated in P2 - 178
    • Citizens Educated in P2 - 11,102
    • Newspaper Articles and TV/Radio Broadcasts Concerning P2 - 78

    SAVINGS (based on client-provided data)

    Listed by Metric and Average per client

    • Direct Cost Savings (raw material purchases and waste disposal) - $9,000/yr
    • Solid Waste Reduced - 283,000 lb/yr
    • Hazardous Waste Reduced - 2,100 lb/yr
    • Water Use Reduced - 110,000 gallons/yr
    • Electrical Use Reduced - 47,500 kwh/yr
    • CO2 Emission Reductions - 390 metric tons CO2 Equivalent/yr

    The benefits listed above will likely be achieved by the clients each year for several years into the future. In addition to the above benefits, there is a range indirect benefits (e.g., educational impact, reduced liabilities, environmental and public health improvements, etc.) that will be gained from the proposed project, based on past experience. For example, a 2008 P3 study published in the Journal of Cleaner Production quantified some indirect benefits for 20 past clients; the study quantified benefits of: time a company saved from the interns' research, reduced operating costs, time a company saved from reduced regulatory requirements, and reduced future liabilities. It was found that regardless of the complexity of assistance or type of waste reductions experienced, a client's indirect savings were equivalent or slightly larger than the direct savings!

    Project Support U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Businesses
    Project Website http://engineering.unl.edu/research/P3/#
    Report
    Current Status Continuous
    Pic 1 Project Image
    Pic Caption 1 Partners in Pollution Prevention 
    Topic Pollution Prevention
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Kuzila, Mark
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email mkuzila1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-7537
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=70
    Project Information
    Title Nebraska Agrichemical Contaminant Database
    Description
    1. Maintain the mechanisms, protocols, and capabilities necessary for the management of a centralized database for pesticides and groundwater quality, with guidance from NDA and its advisory committee.
    2. Obtain monitoring data from state, federal, and local agencies and evaluate such data for quality and utility. Data which have been filtered in this way will be placed into the Quality-Assessed Agrichemical Contaminant Database for Nebraska Groundwater and provided to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for storage and public web access. The data shall be delivered in a manner mutually agreeable to UNL and DNR.
    3. Prepare and submit to NDA an end-of-the-year summary of the pesticide data collected and placed into the centralized database.
    4. Assist NDA and its advisory committee in reviewing the data housed in the pesticides and groundwater database by assessing the current status of pesticides in groundwater in Nebraska. This shall include making recommendations regarding monitoring needs, areas of concern, etc.
    Project Support Nebraska Department of Agriculture
    Project Website http://dnrdata.dnr.ne.gov/clearinghouse/
    Report
    Current Status Ongoing
    Topic Production Agriculture
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Burbach, Mark
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email mburbach1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-8210
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=268
    Project Information
    Title Personality Characteristics and Conservation Tillage: Understanding Farmers to Improve Surface Water Quality in Tuttle Creek Lake, Kansas
    Other(s) Courtney Quinn 
    Description

    Farmers chose to adopt conservation practices for varying reasons. There are many models of pro-environmental behaviors that include personal, physical, economic, and institutional factors. Models of farmer behavior that include personal factors often only examine farmers' education level and years farming. Testing additional factors would greatly improve our understanding of the relationship between farmers' knowledge, skills, and abilities and conservation tillage. This study examines three potential variables in relation to farmers' conservation tillage practices that benefit surface water quality, environmental attitude, work motivation, and moral reasoning about the environment.

    This study focused on the Tuttle Creek Watershed, specifically Gage and Jefferson counties in southeast Nebraska and Washington and Marshall counties in northeast Kansas. Land use in this watershed is primarily agricultural, with approximately 72% in corn, soybean, grain sorghum or other crops, 10% in pastureland, and 10% in woodland. Herbicides are used extensively to control agricultural weeds. Soil infiltration rates in this area range from moderate to very slow. As a consequence, most soils have a moderate to very high potential of transporting contaminants to surface waters. As the base of the watershed, Tuttle Creek Reservoir is listed as impaired for siltation, eutrophication, atrazine and alachlor. Extremely high suspended solids and nutrient loads enter the reservoir during storm events and excessive siltation has occurred in the upper third of the original conservation pool reducing its volume by approximately 30%. In November 2007 4000 mail surveys were delivered to farmers in the study area. Data on the farmers' tillage practices and the personality variables, hypothesized to be antecedents to tillage practices, were collected. 505 surveys were used for this analysis.

    Survey results suggest that farmers motivated by tangible rewards, personal standards, and a strong sense of purpose are likely to use conservation tillage. Farmers who obtained a higher degree of education have learned either a concern for the environment or the ability to apply newer conservation technologies. Farmers with higher sales also use more conservation practices. This suggests that income allows farmers to implement practices that may have high initial start-up costs. Farmers who earn a high percentage of their family income from farming also use more conservation practices. A heavy dependence on the success of the farm may cause farmers to have a long-term outlook and see the benefits of using conservation.

    The negative relationship between use of conservation tillage and Self-concept External motivation suggests that efforts to encourage adoption of no-till practices need to target the entire farming community. The negative correlation between age and use of conservation tillage and between years farming and use of conservation tillage suggests than younger farmers, and those who have been farming for fewer years, are more interested and willing to use conservation practices. This may be because younger farmers have grown up during a time of concern for the natural environment. Younger farmers may also be less set in their ways and therefore willing to try new practices.

    Other personal characteristics should be studied in addition to those studied as part of this project. For example, researchers should investigate whether farmers experience empathy with downstream residents and the distance of concern farmers consider when making decisions. Farmers' need for control, and their perceived ability to create desired change should be researched to discover if correlations or causations exist with likelihood to use conservation tillage.

    Project Support USDA
    Project Website
    Report Burbach_Personality.pdf
    Current Status Published in Great Plains Research 2008 Vol. 18:1, 103-114
    Topic Production Agriculture
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Corr, Alan
    Unit West Central Research and Extension Center
    Email acorr@unl.edu
    Phone 308-324-5501
    Web Page
    Project Information
    Title Nebraska Irrigation Survey: Uncovering Changing Attitudes and Challenges
    Description

    Groundwater is Nebraska's most valuable resource. Ninety-four percent of the groundwater usage in Nebraska is for agricultural purposes while approximately the same percentage of land in Nebraska is in agriculture production. Landowners/producers own water rights, but are faced with continued challenges concerning water usage. The Nebraska Irrigator's survey conducted during the fall of 2007 was a research project that established base-line information on irrigation management practices of Nebraska agriculture producers, and educational needs assessment information. The results provide an overview of irrigation practices, issues, concerns, and general attitudes of Nebraska irrigators.

    Overall the survey shows that irrigators' attitude is to use as little water as they can while producing a crop. Asked what is the most important issue facing all Nebraska irrigators, nearly 60 percent of respondents listed groundwater availability, groundwater depletion and water use restrictions. Irrigation cost came in second with about 11 percent calling that the most important problem. When asked about their own most pressing problem, though, about 40 percent put cost at the top of the list, 16 percent worried about water availability and 14 percent listed water rights and restrictions.

    Attitudes toward shortages vary between parts of the state where drilling and pumping are restricted and areas where there are no current restrictions. In areas where restrictions are already in place, about 48 percent of respondents said water availability is the most pressing problem. About 31 percent said cost was the most important factor. Conversely, in unrestricted areas, 20 percent were most concerned about water restrictions and 50 percent cited irrigation costs as their biggest problem.

    In addition to attitudes toward dealing with water shortages and restrictions, the study focused on management practices like use of new technologies, such as moisture monitoring equipment, sprinkler packages and updated irrigation equipment. The results of that part of the survey will become available as they are tabulated. The expected long-term impacts of this research include maintaining the agricultural economy under limited irrigation, responsible use of water for irrigation, and an enhanced understanding of irrigation management practices by agriculture producers.

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report Nebraska Irrigation Survey.pdf
    Current Status Results are being tabulated.
    Topic Production Agriculture
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Sandell, Lowell
    Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
    Email lsandell2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-1527
    Web Page http://agronomy.unl.edu/web/agronomy/sandell
    Project Information
    Title Crop Production Clinics
    Description

    Crop Production Clinics are offered annually in January at up to nine locations across the state and provide valuable information to help crop producers and agribusiness professionals improve their profitability and safety. Presentations from the clinics are now available online and allow participants and others interested to go back and review what was discussed at the clinics. The clinics feature presentations from extension specialists and educators on soil fertility, soil water and irrigation management, crop production, pesticide safety, and weed, disease and insect pest management.

    The programs for each location are tailored to meet the needs of cropping systems in that part of the state. Presentations recorded at the Fremont, Hastings, York, North Platte and Gering locations are available. The videos are grouped by discipline. Clicking on a discipline tab will allow you to see the individual presentation title, speaker, and location. Click on the title to view the video.

    The Crop Production Clinics succeed the Crop Protection Clinics which had been conducted annually since 1974.

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website http://cpc.unl.edu/
    Report Hubbard_Irrigation_Temperature.pdf
    Current Status Annual
    Topic Production Agriculture
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Yoder, Ron
    Unit Biological Systems Engineering
    Email ryoder2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-472-1413
    Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/faculty/Yoder.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Center Pivot Water Conservation Project
    Other(s) Chuck Burr, West Central Research and Extension Center, cburr1@unl.edu 
    Description

    This project will develop and deliver an organized water management educational program to provide irrigators and their advisors with the knowledge and skills necessary to obtain maximum value from a constrained water supply. Although the program will be offered statewide, initial efforts will be concentrated in water short areas, including the Republican River Basin and the Platte River Basin upstream of Kearney. This program will differ from previous educational programs in emphasis, scope, and marketing strategy, and will rely on input from the center pivot manufacturers to reach a previously unreached audience. The need for this type of program had increased in recent years because the water resources of many of Nebraska's NRDs have been declared fully or over-appropriated and are subject to either moratoriums or to restrictions on the amount of water that may be used. The need for this project has also been reinforced by the University of Nebraska Water Resources Advisory Panel.

    Project Support Nebraska Environmental Trust, Lindsay Corporation, Reinke, T-L Irrigation Company, Valmont, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    Project Website http://water.unl.edu/pivotproject
    Report Center Pivot Final Report.pdf
    Current Status Underway - 3 year project
    Topic Recreation
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Pope, Kevin
    Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
    Email kpope2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-7028
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=759
    Project Information
    Title Angler Behavior in Reponse to Management Actions on Nebraska Reservoirs
    Other(s) Christopher Chizinski, School of Natural Resources; Carla Knight, School of Natural Resources; Lucas Kowalewski, School of Natural Resources; Alexis Mapple, School of Natural Resources; Dustin Martin, School of Natural Resources; Peter Spirk, School of Natural Resources; Chris Wiley, School of Natural Resources 
    Description

    Natural resource agencies invest substantial resources to recruit anglers and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is no different. However, there is little understanding of human motives for participating in angling activities. Even less is known about the effects of management actions on angler participation.

    GOALS: To understand 1) the participation patterns of anglers on local and regional scales, and 2) how participation patterns of anglers influence fish populations.

    The project currently has six study components:

    1. Statewide Angler Survey
    2. Regional Angler Survey
    3. Ability of Anglers to Identify Fishes
    4. Angling Pressure and Bluegill Parasites
    5. Angler Effects on Sexually-Dimorphic Parasites
    6. Estimates of Fish Population Size
    Project Support Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
    Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/necoopunit/research.main.html#angler
    Report
    Current Status Continuing
    Pic Caption 1 n/ 
    Topic Sandhills Studies and Modeling
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Hu, Qi (Steve)
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email qhu2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-6642
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=54
    Project Information
    Title The Missing Term in Surface Water Balance in the Great Plains
    Other(s) Jinsheng You, School of Natural Resources, jyou2@unl.edu 
    Description

    It has been recognized that the surface water budget derived from the NCEP-NCAR Reanalysis and other existing climatic datasets is not in balance in the Great Plains region. This imbalance is shown by large surface evaporation which cannot be supported by source terms in the budget equation. This large surface evaporation is always appearing in calculations from the surface and soil moisture conditions specified in those datasets. This imbalance poses serious uncertainties to diagnostic and modeling studies of energy and carbon balances and to our understanding of atmospheric/climatic processes in this region. An effort aiming at identifying sources causing the water budget imbalance has been underway and some preliminary results have been obtained. A main source of the imbalance arises from the calculation of the surface evaporation. It was found that the surface and soil water specified in those datasets (developed from integrations of both observations and model simulations) is biased because of inaccurate descriptions of the soil properties, particularly the sandy soils in the Nebraska Sand Hills. A revised model with more accurate descriptions of the soils and soil hydrology in the Sand Hills has produced a balance surface water budget in the Sand Hills.

    Project presentation at the 2008 Water Colloquium

    Project Support Department of Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status
    Topic Sandhills Studies and Modeling
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Pederson, Darryll
    Unit Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
    Email dpederson2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-7563
    Web Page http://eas.unl.edu/people/faculty_page.php?lastname=Pederson&firstname=Darryll&type=REG
    Project Information
    Title Cybernetic Relationships of Groundwater, Surface Water, and Geology in the Nebraska Sand Hills
    Description

    The Sand Hills of Nebraska represent a study in cybernetics and change over time. While the sand dunes themselves are the most visible it is in the underlying sands and gravels where cybernetic effects start controlling the game. In west to east and north to south cross-sections of the Sand Hills the thickness of the underlying sand and gravels (aquifer) increases and then decreases. The permeable soils of the sand dunes assure a significant recharge to the underlying sands and gravel aquifer with recharge amounts greater to the east. The issue is how to discharge the groundwater?

    In the west the thinner aquifer is unable to transport all of the recharge out of the area and there are few streams flowing out of the Sand Hills so the saturated zone reaches the surface and the many lakes represent discharge via evapotranspiration. In the central Sand Hills the aquifer is thicker and able to transport groundwater underflow from the west as well as most local recharge. On the eastern edge of the central Sand Hills the aquifer once again thins. Here one finds the headwaters of the principal rivers draining the Sand Hills. These rivers developed after episodes of dune migration because of groundwater sapping. Their spacing represents that needed to effectively drain the aquifer based on aquifer thickness. The greater the aquifer thickness the greater the spacing of river channels.

    The upper reaches of the Dismal River represent a recent catastrophic headward extension when headward sapping of the river channel drained a large Sand Hills lake. The large boiling-sand springs along the Dismal River represent blowouts from pressure of deeper aquifers with rapid headward erosion of the channel.

    Project presentation at the 2008 Water Colloquium

    Project Support
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Stormwater Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Admiraal, David
    Unit Civil Engineering
    Email dadmiraal2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-8568
    Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/DavidAdmiraal.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Study of Flow through a Gate-Controlled Culvert with a Weir-box Inlet using a Physical Model
    Other(s) Matthew Clark, Civil Engineering 
    Description The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) operates several large stormwater treatment areas (STAs) to improve water quality of urban and agricultural runoff. Flow through the STAs is controlled by several weir box/gate controlled culvert structures. SFWMD wants to better understand flow within the structures to improve flow management in the STAs. A physical model of the structure was built and calibrated comparing velocity profiles in the prototype and the model. The calibrated model will be used to study flow behavior in the structure for a complete range of flow rates and gate settings.
    Project Support Sutron Corporation
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Continuing
    Topic Stormwater Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Feehan, Kelly
    Unit Northeast Research and Extension Center
    Email kfeehan2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-563-4901
    Web Page http://www.platte.unl.edu/staffdir/KellyFeehan
    Project Information
    Title Expanding, Focusing and Evaluating Nebraska's Stormwater Management Education Program
    Other(s) Steve Rodie, Agronomy and Horticulture, srodie1@unl.edu; Dave Shelton, Northeast Research and Extension Center, dshelton2@unl.edu; Thomas Franti, Biological Systems Engineering, tfranti@unl.edu; Katie Pekarek, Northeast Research and Extension Center, kpekarek2@unl.edu 
    Description

    The Clean Water Act's Phase I and II Rules regulate municipalities with populations of 10,000 or larger to effectively manage urban stormwater by reducing the volume of stormwater, slowing run-off, and decreasing nonpoint source pollution in stormwater. Well-designed, implemented and managed properties and green infrastructure are key components of successful urban stormwater management. Increased surface permeability as well as increased bioretention and infiltration are experiencing broader interest and implementation in landscape and development projects. Small scale actions at the individual property level are recognized as having significant impacts on the way water is managed in developed environments.

    To provide research based information to green industry, municipalities, home and business owners, the UNL Extension Stormwater and Greenspace work group was organized in 2006 with the goal of providing and developing educational outreach focused on stormwater management through green infrastructure and best management practices for greenspace. Phase I and II communities are required to develop public education and outreach programs as part of their NPDES permits. These efforts need to be focused and based on research information shown to positively impact water quality and quantity. The work group is also focusing on teaching greenspace industry personnel about opportunities that exist to provide value-added design and management services focused on water related issues, such as installing rain gardens, cisterns used for drip irrigation, grass swales, green roofs, all which positively impact water resources.

    Since 2006, work group efforts have resulted in green industry personnel, municipal workers, Master Gardeners, and homeowners increasing awareness and knowledge of urban stormwater issues and the use of green infrastructure and best greenspace practices to manage stormwater volume and nonpoint source pollutants. Outputs include a stormwater management publication series with 7 new Nebguides and one Extension Circular written and published; greenspace and stormwater workshops reaching over 400 municipal and green industry people; property design and landscape management content pages on the new UNL water website; development of a 1:24-scale operating residential rain garden model; and production of a DVD on 'Home Landscape Water Management'. Partnerships have been formed with staff across University Departments, with municipalities, and with green industry professionals. An action team grant of $7500 was received.

    As the project has developed, the key lessons learned have been the challenges inherent in: 1. responding to a highly diverse audience (relative to training and perspectives); 2. the effective delivery of information at many required learning levels; and 3. how to best prioritize the focus of the UNL Stormwater Working Group to maximize outcomes with available resources.

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website http://water.unl.edu/propertydesign
    Report
    Current Status Continuing
    Topic Survey
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Allen, Craig
    Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
    Email callen3@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-0229
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=647
    Project Information
    Title Wetland Condition Assessment
    Other(s) Ted LaGrange, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, ted.lagrange@ngpc.ne.gov; Nick Smeenk, School of Natural Resources, nicholas.a.smeenk@huskers.unl.edu 
    Description

    Since 1867, Nebraska has lost nearly 35% of its wetland resources, which equates to a loss of over one million acres of wetlands across the state. As of 2005, only 3% of remaining wetlands in Nebraska were owned by state, federal, or other conservation and management organizations. Although the quantity of these wetlands is known, the quality of the remaining, privately owned wetlands is less well understood.

    GOALS: To quantify the condition of important wetland resources in Nebraska and aid in the development of wetland-specific, rapid assessment methods and state-wide wetland management strategies. The knowledge gained will be increasingly important as many federal and state easements protecting privately owned wetlands come to an end, allowing federal and state agencies to target areas of wetlands for protection where the most gains can be recognized.

    Click here to read a fact sheet on this project

    Project Support Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, U.S. Envvironmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    Project Website snr.unl.edu/necoopunit/research.main.html#testing
    Report
    Current Status Ongoing
    Pic 2 Project Image 2
    Pic Caption 2 Graduate Student Nick Smeenk collects samples near the Platte River 
    Topic Survey
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Kuzelka, Robert
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email rkuzelka1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-7527
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=69
    Project Information
    Title Flat Water: A History of Nebraska and Its Water
    Other(s) Charles Flowerday, Editor 
    Description This chronicle of Nebraska's water history looks at as many aspects of the state's water history as possible. Chapters examine climate and hydrology; industry; technology; economics and finance; extension and education; environmental quality and changes in ecosystems; conservation management and environmental protection; politics and policy; and a farm family's history of irrigation. Essays on the future control of the state's water, its future uses and demands on those uses and on the future of its agriculture are also included. The book also looks at Native American use of water and includes four women writers and profiles of a woman irrigator and early women irrigation promoters. The book is richly illustrated with more than 200 color and black and white photographs, maps and diagrams.
    Project Support
    Project Website http://nebraskamaps.unl.edu/home.asp
    Report
    Current Status Published 1993 - available via Nebraska Maps and More
    Topic Survey
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Kuzila, Mark
    Unit Conservation and Survey Divsion
    Email mkuzila1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-7537
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=70
    Project Information
    Title Conservation and Survey Division
    Other(s) Matt Joeckel, School of Natural Resources, rjoeckel3@unl.edu 
    Description The Conservation and Survey Division (CSD) is the natural resource survey component of the School of Natural Resources, within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resouces, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. CSD is a unique research, service and data-collection organization established by state statute in 1921. As such, it includes the state geological, groundwater and soil surveys. In 2003, CSD merged with the School of Natural Resource Sciences to become the School of Natural Resources (SNR). Besides the main office in Lincoln, CSD also maintains offices in Norfolk, North Platte and Scottsbluff. Part of the mandate of the division is to investigate and record information about the geologically related natural resources of the state. This mandate means the division inventories, analyzes and evaluates the rock and mineral deposits, groundwater supplies, and soils of the state. As a result, CSD maintains a huge data base, including data on more than 17,000 oil and gas wells and more than 4,400 test holes (drilled for geologic and hydrogeologic data), as well as information on all the irrigation and water wells in the state. Visit Conservation and Survey Divsion for links to this information. The primary outlet for obtaining CSD and SNR maps and publications is through the on-line store, Nebraska Maps and More.
    Project Support Varies according to program and project - for more information see http://snr.unl.edu/csd/index.asp
    Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/csd/index.asp
    Report
    Current Status Continuous
    Topic Survey
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Shaffer, F. Butler
    Unit Conservation and Survey Divsion
    Email
    Phone
    Web Page
    Project Information
    Title Availability and Use of Water in Nebraska, 1970
    Description This report describes how Nebraska has a large total supply of water of good quality, but that unfortunately the supply is not uniformly distributed nor is its development proportional to its distribution. The water available for use occurs as soil moisture (water available to plants), as suface water (water running over or impunded on the land surface), and as groundwater (water saturating porous rocks below the land surface). The ultimate source of Nebraska's water supply is precipitation on the state itself and on those parts of akjoining states, particularly Colorado and Wyoming, that drain into Nebraska. This report describes the environmental conditions under which water occurs in Nebraska, evaluates the annual increments to the stored supply, and quantitatively summarizes current uses for water year 1970, which began October 1, 1969, and ended September 30, 1970.
    Project Support Prepared in cooperation with U.S. Geological Survey
    Project Website
    Report WSP-31.pdf
    Current Status Report Published 1972, Report Available via Nebraska Maps and More
    Topic Turfgrass
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Amundsen, Keenan
    Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
    Email kamundsen2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-8390
    Web Page http://agronomy.unl.edu/amundsen
    Project Information
    Title Breeding and Developing Buffalograss for Turfgrass Use
    Description

    There is increasing concern over water quality and quantity issues, and the potential for excessive use of pesticides and energy inputs in the turfgrass indudstry. The goal of the University of Nebraska Buffalograss Working Group is to develop turfgrasses that conserve water and reduce chemical and energy inputs. In order to better serve the industryand provide quality turfgrasses that require reduced inputs, it is necessary to evaluate species and develop cultivars that will be environmentally friendly and sustainable. In the future, it is likely that the use of current turfgrass management practices may not be feasible due to reductions in availability of natural resources and political decisions that restrict water use and fertilizer and pesticide applications on turfgrass sites.

    With these aspects in mind, this research project was initiated to breed and develop buffalograsses that require less water, fertilizer, pesticides, and mowing than current turfgrasses, like Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue. Research will focus on buffalograss breeding, genetics, and development for improved turfgrass performance and use. This project will concentrate on improving seeded and vegetative buffalograss cultivars, improving our understanding of the genetics of this species at the molecular and cellular levels, and developing establishment and management practices that produce quality turfgrass while conserving water and reducing inputs. The expected outcomes of this project include release of cultivars that require less water, fertilizer, pesticide, and energy inputs than currently used species.

    Currently buffalograss seed is relatively expensive when compared to other seeded turfgrass species. One emphasis of this project is to produce cultivars with higher seed yields than current commercially available buffalograss cultivars. Increased seed yield will potentially increase profitability for producers and reduce costs to the consumer based on the greater seed availability.

    Project Support UNL Agricultural Research Division
    Project Website http://turf.unl.edu/
    Report Buffalograss_Overview.pdf
    Current Status Ongoing
    Topic Unique Research Facilities
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Bartelt-Hunt, Shannon
    Unit Civil Engineering
    Email sbartelt2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-554-3868
    Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/ShannonBartelt-Hunt.shtml
    Project Information
    Title The Bartelt-Hunt Lab
    Description The Bartelt-Hunt research group was established in 2006. The group's lab is located in shared facilities in the Peter Kiewit Institute, Room 214 on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus. The laboratory is equipped with advanced analytical instrumentation for the detection and quantification of organic and biologic contaminants in environmental systems. Current research includes quantification of the fate and transport of emerging chemical and biological contaminants in agriculture and waste disposal systems. Completed projects include "Survival of Avian Influenza in Landfill Leachate" and "Toward Sustainable Landfills: Workshop on Models for Sustainable Landfilling." More information about these projects and a publications list are available on the lab's web site.
    Project Support Varies According to Project
    Project Website http://www.engineering.unl.edu/academicunits/civil/research/hunt/
    Report
    Current Status On-going
    Topic Wastewater
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Bartelt-Hunt, Shannon
    Unit Civil Engineering
    Email sbartelt2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-554-3868
    Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/ShannonBartelt-Hunt.shtml
    Project Information
    Title The occurrence of illicit and therapeutic pharmaceuticals in wastewater effluent and surface waters in Nebraska
    Other(s) Daniel D. Snow, School of Natural Resources, dsnow1@unl.edu; Teyona Damon; Johnette Shockley; Kyle Hoagland, School of Natural Resources, khoagland1@unl.edu 
    Description The occurrence and estimated concentration of twenty illicit and therapeutic pharmaceuticals and metabolites in surface waters influenced by wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) discharge and in wastewater effluents in Nebraska were determined using Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Samplers (POCIS). Samplers were installed in rivers upstream and downstream of treated WWTP discharge at Lincoln, Grand Island, and Columbus, downstream of Hastings' WWTP discharge, and from Omaha's effluent channel just prior to it being discharged into the Missouri River. Based on differences in estimated concentrations determined from pharmaceuticals recovered from POCIS, WWTP effluent was found to be a significant source of pharmaceutical loading to the receiving waters. Effluents from WWTPs with trickling filters or trickling filters in parallel with activated sludge resulted in the highest observed in-stream pharmaceutical concentrations. Azithromycin, caffeine, 1,7 - dimethylzanthine, carbamazepine, cotinine, DEET, diphenhydramine, and sulfamethazine were detected at all locations. Methamphetamine, an illicit pharmaceutical, was detected at all but one of the sampling locations, representing only the second report of methamphetamine detected in WWTP effluent and in streams impacted by WWTP effluent.
    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report Bartelt-Hunt_Wastewater.pdf
    Current Status Published in Environmental Pollution 2009 157:786-791
    Topic Wastewater
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Blum, Paul
    Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Email pblum1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-2769
    Web Page http://biosci.unl.edu/index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=68&Itemid=9
    Project Information
    Title Understanding Viability of Pathogens During Disinfection
    Description This research focused on the evaluation of wastewater coliform communities to provide a more realistic indication of how particular community members, including fecal coliforms, respond to water processing and disinfection by chlorination. The technologies developed in this research provided, for the first time, data on the immediate response of enterobacteria at all states of treatment and disinfection that could be used to devise more efficient methods for inacivating wastewater fecal enterobacteria. Wastewater operators could apply these methods, particularly the mRNA profiling method combined with flouorescence microscopes, to conduct real-time water analysis at any WWTP facility. The mRNA profiling probes could also be used to accelerate wastewater sample analysis as well as to quanititate fecal coliform content in wastewater samples and obviate reliance on culture-based and, therefore, time-dependent methods.
    Project Support Water Environment Research Foundation
    Project Website http://ww2.werf.org/AM/CustomSource/Downloads/uGetExecutiveSummary.cfm?FILE=ES-00-HHE-1.pdf&ContentFileID=9235
    Report Blum mRNA Profiling.pdf
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Wastewater
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Sellin, Marlo
    Unit Biology, UNO
    Email msellin@mail.unomaha.edu
    Phone n/a
    Web Page
    Project Information
    Title Presence and Biological Effects of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds in Municipal Wastewater
    Other(s) Daniel D. Snow, School of Natural Resources, dsnow1@unl.edu; Debbie L. Akerly, Department of Biology, UNO; Alan S. Kolok, Biology UNO, akolok@mail.unomaha.edu 
    Description

    Recent studies have detected estrogenic compounds in surface waters in North America and Europe. Furthermore, the presence of estrogenic compounds in surface waters has been attributed, in some cases, to the discharge of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent. The primary objective of the current study was to determine if WWTP effluent contributes estrogens to the surface waters of Nebraska. A second objective of this study was to determine if estrogens were found in concentrations sufficient enough to manifest feminizing effects on fish. These objectives were satisfied by deploying polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS) and caged fathead minnows at eight field sites. Deployment sites included: three reference sites (Pawnee Creek, the Little Blue River, and the Middle Loup River), two sites upstream of the WWTPs at Grand Island and Columbus, and three sites downstream of the WWTPs at Grand Island, Columbus, and Hastings.

    Following the seven day deployments, POCIS extracts were analyzed for estrone, 17b-estradiol, estriol and 17a-ethinylestradiol using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC /MS/ MS). 17b-estradiol was detected in POCIS from six of the eight field sites with the greatest quantities recovered in POCIS deployed downstream from the Grand Island and Hastings WWTPs. Estrone was detected only in the POCIS deployed downstream from the Grand Island and Hastings WWTPs. Estrogenic effects were detected in caged minnows analyzed for the hepatic mRNA expression of two estrogen-responsive genes, vitellogenin (vg1) and estrogen receptor a (ERa). Fish deployed at the site where the greatest quantities of estrogens were recovered (Hastings) had significantly higher expression of both vg1 and ERa than fish deployed at any of the other sites. These results confirm that WWTP effluent contributes biologically significant levels of estrogens to Nebraska surface waters.

    Project presentation by Alan Kolok at the 2008 Water Colloquium

    Project Support Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Geological Survey's Section 104b Program as administered by the UNL Water Center, College of Arts and Sciences UNO
    Project Website
    Report Sellin_Estrogenic.pdf
    Current Status Published in Journal of the American Water Works Association 2009 Vol. 45, No. 1:14-21
    Topic Water Chemistry
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Dussault, Pat
    Unit Chemistry
    Email pdussault1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-6951
    Web Page http://chem.unl.edu/faculty/eachfaculty/dussault.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Directed Reactions of Carbonyl Oxides: A New Approach to Ozonolysis
    Description

    This project will explore the ability of chemical additives to direct the formation of products in alkene ozonolysis, one of the most important oxidative transformations in organic chemistry. While the central role of carbonyl oxides in alkene ozonolysis has been known for more than a half century, the scope of reagents able to react with these short-lived intermediates remains extremely limited. The hypothesis central to the research is that the presence of specific additives will control the reactivity of the intermediate carbonyl oxides to favor formation of particular products, some of which are completely unavailable by traditional methodology. The project will focus on three areas: First, the generation and fragmentation of carbonyl oxide-derived zwitterions will be investigated as a new approach for \"reductive\" ozonolysis, a process which directly produces carbonyl products without the need for a separate reductive step. Second, ozonolysis in the presence of Lewis acids will be explored as a means for enhancing nucleophilic trapping of carbonyl oxides. Finally, generation and fragmentation of heteroozonides will be explored for the direct conversion of alkenes to carboxyl groups.

    Click here to read a journal article about Ozonolysis

    Click here to read another journal article about this research

    Project Support National Science Foundation
    Project Website http://chem.unl.edu/faculty/eachfaculty/dussault.shtml
    Report
    Current Status Underway
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Barrow, Tadd
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email tbarrow2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-7783
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=140
    Project Information
    Title Community Lake Enhancement And Restoration (CLEAR) Program
    Other(s) Paul Brakhage, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Paul.Brakhage@ndeq.state.ne.us; Richard Eades, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, rick.eades@ngpc.ne.gov 
    Description

    The Community Lakes Enhancement and Restoration (CLEAR) program was created in 2000 to combine the resources and technical expertise of the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC). Prior to the CLEAR program, Nebraska communities lacked the technical expertise and background required to effectively secure grant funds for park pond rehabilitation. UNL, working with NDEQ and NGPC, realized that melding three agencies into one team, would allow them to be highly competitive in securing grant funds that could then be passed on to Nebraska communities.

    In 2008, the communities of Oxford, Hooper and Big Springs were added to the CLEAR program. Combined, these three communities began water quality projects totaling over $900,000, of which CLEAR provided nearly $765,000. These efforts resulted in an additional 5 restored lake acres with improved recreational opportunities for nearly 1,900 residents of those communities.

    The CLEAR team is still in the process of measuring the long-term impact of these projects. Because these are part of the city parks system, the communities have been overwhelmingly supportive of this program and testify that it is a huge step in improving the overall image of their parks.

    As a result of CLEAR:

    • many communities have utilized the lake restoration as a unique opportunity to focus on improving the surrounding park system;
    • with assistance from UNL, communities are educating their citizens on water quality issues;
    • these communities have independently funded additions or improvements to hiking trails, arboretums, and general park facilities;
    • lakeside grand opening ceremonies have aided in adult education; and
    • local teachers have developed water quality curricula and utilize the restored lakes as outdoor classrooms.

    Since the inception of CLEAR over $4.97 million from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the Environmental Protection Agency and local community partners such as UNL Extension have gone into projects resulting in improved water quality and increased recreational opportunities for 23 communities across Nebraska. These changes impact the nearly 400,000 residents of those communities.

    Project Support Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, UNL Extension
    Project Website
    Report CLEAR 3 Final Report.pdf
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Barrow, Tadd
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email tbarrow2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-7783
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=140
    Project Information
    Title Use of Aluminum Sulfate to Eliminate Algal Toxins and Improve Water Quality
    Other(s) Aris Efting, School of Natural Resources, aholz2@unl.edu 
    Description

    Nutrient loading, particularly phosphorus, has led to accelerated eutrophication of many sandpit lakes throughout Nebraska and has greatly reduced their recreational usage. Water quality problems include nuisance algal blooms, low water clarity, noxious odors, dissolved oxygen depletion, fish kills, and the presence of cyanobacterial algal toxins. Fremont State Lake #20 is a 20 hectare (50 acre) sandpit lake near Fremont, Nebraska and has very high phosphorus concentrations (TP > 130 ppb). The lake has experienced severe cyanobacterial algal blooms the past several years leading to frequent beach closings because of high algal toxin concentrations. From June 2004 through June 2006 the beach was closed for 25 weeks, making this one of the most impacted public lakes in the state for algal toxins. In October 2007, liquid aluminum sulfate was added to the lake to precipitate phosphorus from the water column and to reduce additional phosphorus inputs from the sediments. Compared to pre-treatment conditions, the aluminum sulfate has dramatically reduced water column phosphorus, reduced algal biomass, increased water clarity, and has eliminated algal toxins.

    Project presentation at the 2008 Water Colloquium

    Project Support Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Barrow, Tadd
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email tbarrow2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-7783
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=140
    Project Information
    Title Lake, Pond, and Stream Protection
    Description

    Barrow is a lake-water quality extension educator who meets with public and private landowners, lake owners, residential lake associations, lake managers and lake users, as well as junior and senior high school students, to educate them about good water-quality practices for maintaining healthy fisheries, safe recreational uses and aesthetics. For example, the heavy use of fertilizers near surface water can reduce water quality. With the right information and methods, landowners can correct those problems and create a healthier environment.

    Barrow's office also fields calls from the public about water-quality issues. Based on the volume and the type of questions received, Barrow can determine the public's needs and uses of Nebraska's rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. This information is also used to develop or tailor university research projects to address them. For example, a recent concern has been toxic blue-green algae, which has proven to be harmful to pets and children if consumed. Barrow has developed a statewide volunteer lake monitoring program to assess water quality and the presence or absence of toxic algae. He is also an integral part of ongoing research projects that require weekly monitoring at numerous lakes for toxic algae.

    Barrow has developed a Pond Management Tool to calculate a pond's surface area and volume. Inaccurate measurements of area or volume can lead to ineffective aquatic plant management; more specifically, under or over-dosing. Overdosing can remove too much plant biomass causing oxygen depletion and can potentially lead to fish kills.

    Project Support Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
    Project Website http://water.unl.edu/lakes
    Report
    Current Status Continuous
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Bartelt-Hunt, Shannon
    Unit Civil Engineering
    Email sbartelt2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-554-3868
    Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/academicunits/civil/research/hunt/faculty.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Effects of Cattle Manure Handling and Management Strategies on Fate and Transport of Hormones in the Feedlot and the Field
    Other(s) Dan Snow, School of Natural Resources, dsnow1@unl.edu; William Kranz, Northeast Research and Extension Center, wkranz1@unl.edu; Terry Mader, Northeast Research and Extension Center, tmader1@unl.edu; Charles Shapiro, Northeast Research and Extension Center, cshapiro1@unl.edu; Dave Shelton, Northeast Research and Extension Center, dshelton2@unl.edu; Simon Van Donk, West Central Research and Extension Center, svandonk2@unl.edu; Tian Zhang, Civil Engineering, tzhang@unlnotes.unl.edu; David Tarkalson, Agronomy and Horticulture; Steve Ensley, Iowa State University Bioeconomy Institute, sensley@iastate.edu 
    Description

    This research project focuses on the fate and transport of exogenous and endogenous hormones in cattle manure within a cattle feedlot and after application to crop land and conservation buffers. Currently, little information is available on the environmental fate of hormones in cattle manure. Hormones in manure may be transported in the environment via runoff from feedlot surfaces and by infiltration after land application. The purpose of this project is to evaluate how manure handling and management strategies influence hormone fate and transport. The specific objectives of this project are to:

    1. quantify hormones in various stages of the manure pathway in cattle feedlots,
    2. determine the effects of different handling practices of cattle feedlot wastes on the stability and availability of hormones in cattle feedlots,
    3. determine the effects of different land application strategies on the fate and transport of hormones used in beef cattle production in vadose zone soils, and
    4. determine if grasses from conservation buffers assimilate hormones.

    Five research tasks are underway to assess the objectives of this study.

    1. to sample and survey existing feedlots in Nebraska to determine the fate of hormones in the manure handling pathway over a climatic gradient;
    2. to quantify fate of hormones as influenced by manure handling practices such as stockpiling, composting, and runoff retention basins;
    3. to determine the effect of manure application strategies on hormone losses in runoff and erosion through the use of rainfall simulators;
    4. to quantify the uptake of hormones applied in manures to select grass species commonly used in grass buffer strips; and
    5. to determine hormone fate and transport within soil systems.

    The results of the project will serve as a research base from which to propel future discovery of knowledge that will enable the scientific and regulatory communities to better understand how waste management practices influence the fate of hormones introduced into the environment from animal manure. The data from this project will provide valuable information to both regulators and farm operators to promote and balance agricultural production and environmental protection.

    Preliminary data suggests that a significant amount of the hormone compounds found in livestock waste break down in the body before they are excreted, and that there is further degradation in the deposited animal waste.

    Project Support U.S.Environmental Protection Agency
    Project Website http://watercenter.unl.edu/WaterSciLab/WSL.asp
    Report Cattle Manure Final Report.pdf
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Dvorak, Bruce
    Unit Civil Engineering
    Email bdvorak1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-3431
    Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/BruceDvorak.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Research for Small Community Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems
    Other(s) Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, Civil Engineering, sbartelt2@unl.edu; Mohamed Dahab, Civil Engineering, mdahab1@unl.edu; John Stansbury, Civil Engineering, jstansbury2@unl.edu; Tian Zhang, Civil Engineering, tzhang@unomaha.edu 
    Description

    Ninety-four percent of the nation's 156,000 public water systems serve fewer than 3,300 persons, and are classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as "small". These systems face unique financial and operational challenges in providing drinking water and treating wastewater that meets standards (as compared to larger systems). High quality treatment systems represent a quality long-term investment in environmental quality, public health and economic well-being of the community. The challenges faced by these systems are similar through not only the U.S., but also have applicability worldwide. These challenges include a need for systems that are:

    • relatively low operational (time and training level) requirements;
    • relatively low cost;
    • relatively easy to design; and
    • able to treat contaminants often of agricultural origin.

    UNL's Civil Engineering Department has focused research on a range of small system's issues. Examples of past projects include:

    • Phosphate inhibitor types and dosage for copper corrosion control in neutral pH and moderately-to-high alkalinities water supplies. [Dvorak]
    • Adsorption column configuration selection for minimizing the cost of removal of drinking water contaminants. (e.g., arsenic, uranium, nitrate) [Dvorak]
    • Recommendations for improving for continuing education related to new drinking water treatment technologies based on a national survey of consulting engineers that serve small systems. [Dvorak]
    • Constructed wetlands (both surface and subsurface flow) for wastewater treatment. [Stansbury, Zhang, Dahab]
    • Nitrate removal from water with an innovative sulfur-limestone autotrophic denitrification process. [Zhang]

    Click here to read an article about removing 17ß -estradiol from drinking water

    Click here to read an article about brine reuse in ion-exchange softening

    Project Support Varies according to project
    Project Website http://www.engineering.unl.edu/academicunits/civil/
    Report
    Current Status Continuous
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Dvorak, Bruce
    Unit Civil Engineering
    Email bdvorak1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-3431
    Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/BruceDvorak.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Maximizing Sorbent Life: Comparison of Columns in Parallel, Lead-Lag Series, and with Bypass Blending
    Description

    Various adsorption column configurations can be used to increase fractional utilization and decrease adsorbent usage rate. This study compared the adsorbent usage rate of different column configurations. Mathematical models simulated chromatographic breakthrough front shapes and determined adsorbent usage rates. A configuration selection diagram based on percent mass-transfer zone (MTZ) target C/Co (effluent concentration/influent concentration) was created to compare the adsorbent usage rate of configurations for single component systems. The target C/Co determined the column configuration with the lowest adsorbent usage rate when the MTZ was a large percentage of the column (>60%), while all column configurations generally performed similarly at short percent MTZs (less than 30%). Bypass blending was found to be most effective with a lead-lag configuration and the maximum amount of bypass. A sensitivity analysis determined that competitive adsorption can significantly change the configuration selection diagram and generally makes lead-lag more competitive compared with parallel column configurations.

    Read more about this research in the Journal of Water Environment Research

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Dvorak, Bruce
    Unit Civil Engineering
    Email bdvorak1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-3431
    Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/BruceDvorak.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Impact of Phosphate Treatment on Copper Levels Leached into Nebraska Drinking Waters
    Other(s) Junling Qui, junling.qiu@dnr.iowa.gov 
    Description Pilot-scale studies of copper corrosion control were performed two small Nebraska public water supplies with neutral pH and moderately-to-high alkalinities using a flow-through apparatus containing primarily new copper pipes. Different mixtures of orthophosphate and polyphosphate (sodium hexmetaphosphate) were added to drinking waters to evaluate their impact on copper release. Copper release was inhibited when a threshold orthophosphate dosage (typ. 1 to 2 mg/L) was surpassed, decreased as orthophosphate dosages increased, and increased for higher polyphosphate dosages. Orthophosphate resulted in lower copper release than ortho/polyphosphate blends with similar dosage. Pipes not fed phosphates saw a maximum copper concentration in the water after 10 hours of stagnation time; the copper concentration in the phosphate-fed pipes saw a maximum after one to three days.
    Project Support Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Geological Survey, American Water Works Association, City of Waverly, Nebraska
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Efting, Aris
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email aefting@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-8182
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=226
    Project Information
    Title Comparing the Ability of Ecoregions, HUCs, and River Basins to Predict Reservoir Water Quality in Nebraska
    Other(s) Amy Zoller, School of Natural Resources, azoller2@unl.edu; James Merchant, School of Natural Resources, jmerchant1@unl.edu 
    Description Reservoir classification can be used to group water bodies with similar water quality to enhance our ability to manage these resources. Reference conditions, which describe the characteristics of water bodies within a given class, can then be established to provide a standard for determining the status of reservoirs within a class. Ideally, reference conditions are derived from sites that exhibit minimal impact from human activities relative to the overall class and identify the best attainable water quality for a group. Ecoregions, developed using climate, topography, soil type, and potential natural vegetation, have been successful in identifying meaningful reservoir groups in certain parts of the county. One of the greatest challenges in using the ecoregion approach for classification in the Midwest is the large impact of agricultural land-use on reservoirs, which can mask the natural ecoregion signal. Thus, the ability of ecoregions, along with other promising geographic regions (HUCs, river basins), to predict reservoir water quality was tested for 82 reservoirs in Nebraska. 8-digit HUCs were grouped by both environmental and land-use variables to represent un-impacted (natural) and impacted landscapes. Un-impacted HUC groups were formed using factor and cluster analyses with the following parameters: percent soil clay and CaCO3; soil CEC, permeability, and Kfactor; depth of soil horizon-A; elevation; slope; annual precipitation, and GDD. Similarly, the 1992 Level II NLCD was used to develop impacted HUC groups. These regionalized reservoir groups were discriminated using nine parameters (TP, Secchi depth, TSS, alkalinity, conductivity, N:P, temperature, maximum depth, and chl a) found to be important in describing reservoir condition in Nebraska. Reservoirs grouped by un-impacted and impacted HUCs and ecoregions were well separated, making it difficult to discern if Nebraska reservoirs are most influenced by natural or anthropogenic impacts. Modeling efforts will be required to determine the greatest influences on Nebraska reservoirs.
    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status n/a
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Efting, Aris
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email aefting@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-8182
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=226
    Project Information
    Title Stream Sampling in Nebraska
    Description This project involves conducting a random sample of streams in every Nebraska river basin every five years. This research is done in conjunction with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, who looks at the biological communities and the physical characteristics of the streams. University researchers primarily look at the chemical components (e.g., nutrients, oxygen) of the streams, in addition to algae and sediments. The goal of this research is to determine the factors structuring the biological communities (e.g., vegetation, fish, macroinvertebrates) as well as determine how the streams are changing in general over time. Aris Holz and colleagues have also sampled over 250 lakes over the past 8 years for lake classification. Nebraska was selected as a representative region to develop a lake and reservior classification method appropriate for agriculturally impacted ecosystems and to classify lakes and reservoirs. There are over 3,000 constructed reservoirs, sandpit and borrow pit lakes and natural Sand Hills lakes in the state. Due to the large number of lakes, a methodology for easily assessing lake health is critical for managing lakes and monitoring changes.
    Project Support U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
    Project Website http://www.deq.state.ne.us/
    Report
    Current Status Continuing
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Franti, Thomas
    Unit Biological Systems Engineering
    Email tfranti@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-9872
    Web Page http://bse.unl.edu/faculty/Franti.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Design of a Storm Runoff Simulator for Evaluation of Conservation Buffers
    Other(s) Dave Shelton, Northeast Research and Extension Center, dshelton2@unl.edu; Alan Boldt, Biological Systems Engineering, aboldt1@unl.edu; Stuart Hoff, Biological Systems Engineering, shoff1@unl.edu; Nicholas Sutko, Black and Veatch 
    Description The USDA-NRCS reports adoption of over a million miles of conservation buffers as of 2003. However, NRCS does not assess the in-field effectiveness of a buffer strip, or other conservation practice. What is needed is tools to assess the in-field performance of conservation buffers. The system for this purpose is being developed at the University of Nebraska. It consists, in part, of a storm runoff simulator to create a natural storm runoff hydrograph, sedi-graph and chemi-graph. This simulator will allow replication of storm events, something not doable with natural rainfall. To date, both a water flow control system and a sediment mixing system has been designed, built and tested. The water flow control system, or hydrograph simulator, can replicate 5-yr and 10-yr design storms for a 1 x 9 m buffer plot for up to a 49:1 field area to buffer area ratio. The sediment mixing system mixes very fine silica sand with up to 400 gallons of water to create a sediment slurry of a known concentration, that can be metered from a mixing tank. Research is on-going to combine the sediment and flow phase of the design, as well as incorporate the use of field soil instead of fine silica sand. The full-scale hydrograph simulator consists of a motor-controlled gate valve, a flow meter and a computer controlled feedback and control system to open and close the valve to create the appropriate varied flow. A proto-type scale sediment mixing system that uses very fine silica sand, representing the silt and clay portion of sediment, and a propeller mixing tank design to create a slurry of constant concentration. Pending future research will combine the two systems in parallel and create a design-storm runoff hydrograph at the prototype scale.
    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report Franti_Runoff.pdf
    Current Status Published in Applied Engineering in Agriculture Vol. 23 (5): Part I 603-611, Part II 613-620, Vol. 24 (6): Part III 753-761.
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Hage, David
    Unit Chemistry
    Email dhage1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-2744
    Web Page http://chem.unl.edu/faculty/hage.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Development of a Simple Concentrator-Detection Kit for Monitoring the Safety of Recycled Water
    Other(s) Dan Snow, School of Natural Resources, dsnow1@unl.edu 
    Description

    The overall goal of this current proposal will be to explore the development of novel, low-cost affinity sorbents for use in screening and concentrating indicator compounds for emerging contaminants in water. This work will lead to development of innovative, inexpensive, and rapid screening techniques for monitoring irrigation water quality and to help evaluate risk from water reuse. These techniques, in turn, should provide data that will lead in further studies to better tools for managing water quality for both human and animal consumption.

    The specific objectives of this seed grant will be to 1) explore the development and use of general binding agents such as BSA in low-cost, affinity-based assays for screening water samples for indicator compounds of biologically-active emerging contaminants and 2) examine such devices for collection of the same contaminants for analysis by LC/MS/MS. The results generated in this seed grant will later be used in support of a proposal for longer-term external funding to examine the extension of this approach to other emerging contaminants or environmental samples and for use in portable analytical devices.

    Project Support US Geological Survey
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Underway
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Kolok, Alan
    Unit Biology, UNO
    Email akolok@mail.unomaha.edu
    Phone 402-554-3545
    Web Page http://www.unomaha.edu/envirotox/whoiam.php
    Project Information
    Title The Watershed as A Conceptual Framework for the Study of Environmental and Human Health
    Other(s) Cheryl L. Beseler, Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health, UNMC, cbeseler@unmc.edu; Xun-Hong Chen, School of Natural Resources, xchen2@unl.edu; Patrick J. Shea, School of Natural Resources, pshea1@unl.edu 
    Description

    The watershed provides a physical basis for establishing linkages between aquatic contaminants, environmental health and human health. Current attempts to establish such linkages are limited by environmental and epidemiological constraints. Environmental limitations include difficulties in characterizing the temporal and spatial dynamics of agricultural runoff, in fully understanding the degradation and metabolism of these compounds in the environment, and in understanding complex mixtures. Epidemiological limitations include difficulties associated with the organization of risk factor data and uncertainty about which measurable endpoints are most appropriate for an agricultural setting. Nevertheless, the adoption of the watershed concept can alleviate some of these difficulties. From an environmental perspective, the watershed concept helps identify differences in land use and application of agrichemicals at a level of resolution relevant to human health outcomes. From an epidemiological perspective, the watershed concept places data into a construct with environmental relevance. This project uses the Elkhorn River watershed as a case study to show how the watershed can provide a conceptual framework for studies in environmental and human health.

    Environmental sampling is necessary for evaluating exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals (HDCs); however, sampling is not systematic in time or space, nor does it represent the time frame necessary to adequately link it to human disease outcomes. Although data from municipal sources are available and reliable, countless private drinking water wells go untested and unmonitored. These wells may be in areas vulnerable to concentrated reservoirs of contaminants due to the soil type, infiltration rate, runoff potential, organic matter and erodibility coupled with land use in the region and the chemical properties of the contaminants introduced into the environment. The lack of a defined boundary and introduction of exposure heterogeneity is one of the primary reasons why associations to health outcomes cannot be shown in environmental epidemiological studies.

    The use of the watershed provides a natural boundary and the potential within this boundary to obtain denominator data. Based on the characteristics of the watershed combined with sampling data, shared exposures can be identified and intermediate hypotheses tested using sentinel markers of exposure in fish and humans. Lastly, comparable groups identified in other watersheds with similar characteristics but different surrounding land uses can be used to replicate findings.

    Project Support Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center
    Project Website
    Report Kolok_Watershed.pdf
    Current Status Published in Environmental Health Insights 2009 3:1-10
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Kolok, Alan
    Unit Biology, UNO
    Email akolok@mail.unomaha.edu
    Phone 402-554-3545
    Web Page http://www.unomaha.edu/envirotox/whoiam.php
    Project Information
    Title Occurrence and biological effect of exogenous steroids in the Elkhorn River, Nebraska
    Other(s) Daniel D. Snow, School of Natural Resources, dsnow1@unl.edu; Satomi Kohno, Department of Zoology, University of Florida, kohno@ufl.edu; Marlo K. Sellin, Department of Biology, UNO, msellin@mail.unomaha.edu; Louis J. Guillette Jr., Department of Zoology, University of Florida, ljg@ufl.edu 
    Description

    Recent studies of surface waters in North America, Japan and Europe have reported the presence of steroidogenic agents as contaminants. This study had three objectives:

    1. to determine if steroidogenic compounds are present in the Elkhorn River,
    2. to determine if sediments collected from the Elkhorn River can act as a source of steroidogenic compounds to aquatic organisms, and
    3. to determine if site-specific biological effects are apparent in the hepatic gene expression of fathead minnows.

    Evidence was obtained using three approaches:

    1. deployment of polar organic chemical integrative samplers (POCIS),
    2. deployment of caged fathead minnows, and
    3. a laboratory experiment in which POCIS and fish were exposed to sediments from the deployment sites.

    Deployment sites included: the Elkhorn River immediately downstream from a Nebraska wastewater treatment plant, two waterways (Fisher Creek and Sand Creek) likely to be impacted by runoff from cattle feeding operations, and a reference site unlikely to be impacted by waste water inputs. The POCIS extracts were analyzed for a number of natural steroids and metabolites, as well as four different synthetic steroids: ethinylestradiol, zearalonol, 17-trenbolone and melengestrol acetate. Estrogenic and androgenic metabolites, as well as progesterone and trace levels of melengestrol acetate were detected in POCIS deployed at each site. POCIS deployed in tanks containing field sediments from the four sites did not accumulate the synthetic steroids except for ethinylestradiol, which was detected in the aquarium containing sediments collected near the wastewater treatment plant. Fish deployed in Sand Creek and at the wastewater treatment plant experienced significantly elevated levels of gene expression for two genes (StAR and P450scc) relative to those deployed in Fisher Creek. Fish exposed to the sediments collected from Sand Creek had significantly higher levels of hepatic StAR and P450scc gene expression than did fish exposed to sediments from the two other field sites, as well as the no-sediment control tank.

    In conclusion:

    1. detectable levels of steroidogenic compounds were detected in passive samplers deployed in the Elkhorn River,
    2. sediments do not appear to be a significant source for steroidogenic compounds, and
    3. site-specific differences were found in mRNA expression among the different treatment groups of fish; however, a functional explanation for these differences is not readily forthcoming.
    Project Support Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, U.S. Geological Survey's Section 104b Program as administered by the UNL Water Center, US Environmental Protection Agency Greater Opportunities Fellowship, Dr. Daniel Villeneuve, US Environmental Protection Agency
    Project Website
    Report Kolok_Elkhorn.pdf
    Current Status Published in Science of the Total Environment 2007 388:104-115
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Li, Yusong
    Unit Civil Engineering
    Email yli7@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-5972
    Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/YusongLi.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Virus Facilitated Heavy Metal Transport
    Other(s) Karrie Weber, Biological Sciences, kweber2@unl.edu 
    Description One of the most numerically abundant biological entities on Earth, viruses represent "nature's nanoparticles". Viral-like particles are abundant in aquatic, soil, and sedimentary environments, including groundwater. The hypotheses behind this research is that viral surfaces will absorb and facilitate the transport of contaminant metals in a soil/sedimentary matrix and metal-bearing virus transport can be numerically simulated to describe contaminant metal transport.
    Project Support UNL Research Council Interdisciplinary Award
    Project Website http://www.unl.edu/nanowater/
    Report
    Current Status Underway
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Ogg, Clyde
    Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
    Email cogg1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-1632
    Web Page http://agronomy.unl.edu/ogg
    Project Information
    Title Pesticide Education
    Description The proper use and storage of pesticides maintains and protects water quality. The Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in concert with Extension Specialists, Extension Educators, and Extension Assistants provides educational and training programs that address health, the environment, economic well-being, and pesticide safety.
    Project Support Varies according to program and project - for more information see http://pested.unl.edu/pesticide/pages/index.jsp
    Project Website http://pested.unl.edu/pesticide/pages/index.jsp
    Report
    Current Status Continuous
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Riens, John
    Unit Wisconsin Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
    Email John_Riens@fws.gov
    Phone 541-885-2503
    Web Page http://www.fws.gov/
    Project Information
    Title Macroinvertebrate Response to Buffer Zone Quality in the Rainwater Basin Wetlands of Nebraska
    Other(s) W. Wyatt Hoback, Biology UNK, hobackww@unk.edu; Matt Schwarz, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 
    Description

    The Rainwater Basin is one of the most endangered wetland ecosystems in North America. This ecosystem is critical to many species including migratory waterfowl. Land use and runnoff from agriculture and cattle confinement operations are likely to be reducing the basin's health and diversity, however little information exists concerning macroinvertebrates. Twenty-two locations were assessed for water quality parameters, vegetation composition, and macroinvertebrates identified to genus. Samples were collected biweekly starting in April through July for three years. Macroinvertebrate diversity was impacted in areas with little buffer although the effects were not pronounced. Institution of a more effective vegetative buffers strip may reverse this trend to improve ecosystem quality and provide for invertebrate resources for migratory birds.

    Click here to see a poster about this research

    Project Support n/a
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Shea, Patrick
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email pshea1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-1533
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=109
    Project Information
    Title Sequencing Zerovalent Iron Treatment with Carbon Amendments to Remediate Agrichemical-Contaminated Soil
    Other(s) Hardiljeet Boparai; Steve Comfort, School of Natural Resources, scomfort1@unl.edu; Thomas Machacek, UNL Environmental Health and Safety, tmachacek1@unl.edu 
    Description When a tender truck rolled into a ditch in east-central Nebraska, approximately 1,000 gallons of commercial herbicide containing atrazine, metolachlor, and liquid nitrogen fertilizer accidentally spilled. This project showed how concentrations of atrazine, metolachlor and nitrate in contaminated soil may be reduced so that the treated soil may be applied to agricultural land. Project results show that zerovalent iron in combination with aluminum sulfate and sucrose (table sugar) can be used for on-site, field-scale treatment of pesticide and nitrate-contaminated soil.
    Project Support Nebraska Environmental Trust; EPA-EPSCoR; Compliance Advisory Services; the Heartland Co-op, Hastings, Nebraska; Nebraska Agri-Business Association; UNL Agricultural Research Division
    Project Website
    Report Shea_Sequencing.pdf
    Current Status Published Water Air Soil Pollution 2008 193: 189-196
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Siegfried, Blair
    Unit Entomology
    Email bsiegfried1@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-8714
    Web Page http://entomology.unl.edu/faculty/siegfried.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Comparative Sensitivity of Freshwater Algae to Atrazine
    Other(s) Kyle Hoagland, School of Natural Resources, khoagland@unl.edu; Christine Lockert, clockert2@unl.edu 
    Description This research focused on determining the differential sensitivity of atrazine to a broad number of algal species common in freshwater ecosystems in the Midwest. Cell size was also examined as a possible determinant of differential toxicity to atrazine among algal species. Study results were consistent with previous studies, indicating that atrazine is differentially toxic to freshwater algae and that algal division may dictate sensitivity. Nine species were tested, representing five algal divisions, and green algae were the most sensitive to atrazine exposure. Cyanobacteria and diatoms appear more tolerant.
    Project Support USGS Section 104 program through the UNL Water Center
    Project Website n/a
    Report Siegfried_Algae_Atrazine.pdf
    Current Status Published - Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 2006 76: 73-79.
    Topic Water Quality
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Wortmann, Charles
    Unit Agronomy and Horticulture
    Email cwortmann2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-2909
    Web Page http://agronomy.unl.edu/wortmann
    Project Information
    Title Reducing Phosphorus Pollution of Surface Waters in Crop-Ethanol-Livestock Ecosystems of the Midwest
    Other(s) Kelly Brunkhorst, Nebraska Corn Board, kelly.brunkhorst@nebraska.gov; Hossein Nourdeni; Galen Erickson, Animal Science, gerickson4@unl.edu; Thomas Franti, Biological Systems Engineering, tfranti@unl.edu; Doug Jose, Ag Economics, hjose1@unl.edu; Dennis Schulte, Biological Systems Engineering, dschulte1@unl.edu; Charles Shapiro, Northeast Research and Extension Center, cshapiro1@unl.edu 
    Description

    This projects focuses on reducing phosphorus (P) loading of surface waters associated with crop-ethanol-livestock ecosystems. It has five main objectives:

    1. removal of P from the corn-ethanol stream to reduce dietary P for beef cattle;
    2. develop a decision tool for feedlot manure handling options;
    3. determine the effects of land application practices on manure P loss to surface waters; and
    4. educate corn producers of P management issues.

    About 77 and 90% of the phytate P in beer bottom from dry-milling and in light steep water from wet milling was effectively degraded to phosphoric acid; experiments are underway for the removal of the degraded phytate P from the ethanol stream. Composting of feedlot manure was not found to be cost-effective relative to stockpiling for most feedlot situations unless the compost is a value-added product or if initial manure water content is >60%. The manure handing decision tool is under development. One-time deep plowing in cases of excessively high surface soil P reduced runoff volume and P concentration in runoff for substantial reduction in total P loss. Filter strips occupying 1% of the drainage area reduced runoff volume and runoff P loss by 54 and 68%, respectively. Farmed setbacks areas, ranging from 0 to 40 m in width, for non-application of manure near direct conduits to surface water were not effective in reducing runoff P load on terraced land. Education events for crop producers will be conducted during the winter months of 2008-9.

    Project Support USDA-CSREES Managed Ecosystems, Nebraska Corn Board
    Project Website http://www.usawaterquality.org/conferences/2009/PDF/Ag_BMPs-oral/Wortmann09.pdf
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Watershed Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Allen, Craig
    Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
    Email callen3@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-0229
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=647
    Project Information
    Title Resilience and Adaptive Governance in Stressed Watersheds
    Other(s) Ashok Samal, Computer Science and Engineering, asamal1@unl.edu; Andrew (Drew) Tyre, School of Natural Resources, atyre2@unl.edu; Sherilyn Fritz, Geosciences, sfritz2@unl.edu; Alan J. Tomkins, Public Policy Center, atomkins2@unl.edu 
    Description

    This Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) project is a multidisciplinary graduate training program will train the next generation of natural resource scientists, managers, and policymakers by increasing scientific understanding of how resilience - the ability to withstand multiple stresses without losing critical structure and function - is generated in complex systems of people and nature. IGERT students will receive academic training in resilience and adaptive management and will participate in externships and workshops that expose them to real-world applications that transfer knowledge in a way that is useful to policymakers. Students will benefit from an international experience comparing compromised watersheds in the Great Plains to similarly challenged watersheds in Europe.

    Research will include:

    • Analyses of the societal and ecological dimensions of resilient management.
    • How can adaptive management and governance build and enhance resilience in stressed watersheds?
    • What are the critical thresholds to be avoided and how do we identify them?
    • What are the tradeoffs among increasing water demands for agricultural, ecological, industrial (ethanol) and urban uses?
    • Changing land-use patterns and the provision of ecological goods and services.
    • Simple models of complex systems.
    • Mining spatio-temporal change patterns across multiple datasets.
    • Development and implementation of land use policies to enhance resilience.
    Project Support National Science Foundation IGERT Program
    Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/igert/
    Report
    Current Status Underway
    Topic Watershed Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Allen, Craig
    Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
    Email callen3@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-0229
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=647
    Project Information
    Title Conservation Through Adaptive Management, Resilience Thinking, and Optimization
    Other(s) Melinda Harm Benson, University of New Mexico, mhbenson@unm.edu, Noelle Chaine, School of Natural Resources, nmc54@cornell.edu 
    Description

    GOALS: This project seeks to address some of the challenges of implementing natural resource management in the context of adaptive management, resilience, and optimization theories.

    Current Status:

    There are three main research components:
    1. The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program and the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program will be used to compare current attempts to implement adaptive management within large watersheds. Both programs are in place to protect federally-listed endangered species while also meeting human demands for water. This part of the project will investigate these programs by working with relevant stakeholders to help understand how planning can be transformed into successful application of adaptive management.
    2. The Nebraska Natural Legacy Plan targets species and ecological communities of concern in Nebraska and intends to utilize an adaptive management framework, applied to biologically unique landscapes. This project will work in collaboration with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to aid in the design of an adaptive management monitoring strategy.
    3. Optimization, especially in the case of maximum yield, has been pointed to as the cause of reduced resilience in many social-ecological systems. However optimization itself is just a tool. The third component of this research project is to investigate if and how optimization can be applied to resilience problems - that is, can resilience be reasonably optimized?
    Project Support National Science Foundation IGERT Grant
    Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/necoopunit/research.main.html#conservation
    Report
    Current Status Underway
    Topic Watershed Management
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Michaels, Sarah
    Unit Political Science
    Email smichaels2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-3216
    Web Page http://polisci.unl.edu/dr-sarah-michaels
    Project Information
    Title The Influence of Floods, Finances and State Legislation in Substate Regional Water Resources Management in Ohio
    Other(s) Brian Shreck, Public Policy Center, bshreck2@unl.edu 
    Description Ohio's Conservancy Districts are state created political subdivisions formed at the initiative of either local political jurisdictions or landowners to solve local water management problems, such as flooding. The creation of these districts by the State of Ohio was the first U.S. experiment in regional water management in the early 20th century and has been influential in the formation of comparable districts elsewhere in the country. This research examines the policy experiences of two of the largest conservation authorities in Ohio with extensive, structural facilities for flood mitigation, the Miami and Muskingum Conservancy Districts. This research highlights the long lasting influence of natural perturbations, state legislation and initial funding arrangements of structural flood mitigation in shaping substate regional-scale water resources management.
    Project Support Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences (UCARE) Program, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
    Project Website http://ppc.nebraska.edu/project/ComparingFormsGovernanceRegionalWatershedManagement
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Wetlands
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Allen, Craig
    Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
    Email callen3@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-0229
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=647
    Project Information
    Title Testing for the Presence of the Chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis) in Amphibian Populations Across Nebraska
    Other(s) Ted LaGrange, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, ted.lagrange@ngpc.ne.gov; Nick Smeenk, School of Natural Resources, nicholas.a.smeenk@huskers.unl.edu 
    Description

    Many worldwide amphibian population declines and mass mortality events have been attributed a fungal infection chytridiomycosis (chytrid) caused by the fungal zoospore Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Although the exact mechanism by which mass mortalities occur from chytrid is unknown, it is hypothesized that the chytrid fungus infects keratinized epidermal cells of postmetamorphic frogs with death caused by: 1) disruption of osmoregulation; 2) the absorption of a fungal toxin; 3) or a combination of these factors. Concern over the potential ecological consequences of such rapid and drastic extinctions has led to an increase in effort studying the potential effects of emerging infectious disease on amphibian populations. Furthermore, scientific and technological advances in non-invasive techniques to detect the chytrid fungus have changed the ability of researchers and managers to track the distribution of and measure the population fluctuations and declines caused by infectious disease such as chytrid.

    The chytrid fungus is known to occur in Nebraska and has been found in amphibian populations located in eastern Nebraska as well as along the Central Platte River. Although sporadic testing for the chytrid fungus in populations of native amphibians has occurred in Nebraska, a statewide survey has never been conducted. This lack of knowledge pertaining to the current distribution of chytrid the state must be rectified. Doing so will not only allow researchers to know where chytrid is currently found in the state, but also aid in the development of predictive models and help in the understanding of factors that may help or mitigate the further spread of chytrid.

    GOALS: To determine the current extent of chytrid in Nebraska by swabbing larval amphibians and collecting water samples from 110 populations statewide. Using PCR, the samples will be tested for the presence of Bd zoospores. The presence/absence of chytrid in amphibian populations will be used to model the distribution of chytrid based on environmental covariates associated with wetland condition and amphibian call surveys. The results of these models will be used to develop predictive maps of the potential spread of chytrid based on important environmental and anthropogenic variables.

    CURRENT STATUS: During the spring and summer of 2011 and 2012, researchers visited wetlands in eastern and central Nebraska. During site visits, tadpoles were captured using dip nets. At those sites where tadpoles were captured, each individual was swabbed using a sterile swab. In 2011, samples were collected at nearly 20 sites. Unfortunately, due to an early spring in 2012, sampling was not as successful and samples were collected from only a few sites. During the spring and summer of 2013 and spring of 2014, researchers will focus on collecting chytrid samples from additional wetland sites.

    Project Support Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, U.S. Envvironmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    Project Website snr.unl.edu/necoopunit/research.main.html#testing
    Report
    Current Status Continuing
    Pic 1 Project Image
    Pic Caption 1 Testing for Chytrid fungus in an amphibian along the Platte River in Nebraska 
    Topic Wetlands
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Tang, Zhenghong
    Unit Architecture
    Email ztang2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-9281
    Web Page http://architecture.unl.edu/people/bios/tang_zhenghong.shtml
    Project Information
    Title Developing LiDAR-Derived Wetland Maps To Assess Conservation Design Practices For Playa Wetlands In Rainwater Basin
    Other(s) Ed Harvey, School of Natural Resources, feharvey1@unl.edu; Xu Li, Department of Civil Engineering 
    Description The overall goal of this project is to provide wetland managers with topographically-correct 3-D wetland maps to prioritize wetland conservation efforts and assess wetland conservation design practices. This project addresses three specific tasks for the playa wetlands: 1) Establish accurate, topographically-correct, 3-D wetland maps to relate weather conditions and wetland functions; 2) Develop a measurable Restorable Wetland Index to prioritize playa wetland and drainages conservation; 3) Assess wetland conservation design practices for watershed-based wetland conservation. This research will use high-resolution Light Detections And Ranging (LiDAR) data to create next-generation wetland maps for playa wetlands. The research provides the missing link in conservation design as these data will provide accurate elevation measures to delineate watershed extent and determine the impact of individual hydrologic modifications. This project will be one of the first to integrate LiDAR data and a hydrologic modifications datasets to find the relations of current weather conditions and wetland functions. This project provides reliable, accurate wetland spatial parameters to prioritize playa wetland conservation and assess the effectiveness of existing wetland conservation design practices. The wetland conservation design tools and protocols will be examined in two pilot counties in Nebraska. The intellectual merit of the research is based on advancing knowledge linkage of wetland mapping technologies and wetland function modifications, and showing how to adapt wetland conservation designs. The outputs from this project provide practical protocols for state/regional/local wetland managers and thus ensure "no net loss" in quality and quantity of wetlands.
    Project Support US EPA
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Wildlife
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Pope, Kevin
    Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
    Email kpope2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-7028
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=759
    Project Information
    Title Population Assessment of Channel Catfish in Nebraska
    Other(s) Lindsey Chizinski, Graduate Assistant 
    Description

    Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) is an important sport fish, particularly in the Great Plains. In Nebraska, a majority of anglers target channel catfish, and fishing activities are a vital part of the state’s economy. Lentic water bodies provide the primary fishing opportunity for catfish anglers in Nebraska. Despite the popularity and economic importance of channel catfish, little is known of its population dynamics or habitat requirements, and existing studies often profile river populations.

    Current standards for sampling channel catfish in lentic systems often yield inadequate catch to assess populations. The objective of this study was to utilize a recently developed sampling method, tandem-set hoop nets, to collect channel catfish in sufficient quantities to describe the effects of stocking and habitat variability on populations in lentic ecosystems. Three lentic ecosystems common to the Great Plains were considered: sand pits, flood-control reservoirs, and irrigation/power-generation reservoirs.

    The influence of stocking on abundance and condition of channel catfish varied with ecosystem type. In sand pits, stocking negatively influenced fish condition, and only stocking on an annual basis positively influenced abundance. In flood-control reservoirs, stocking did not influence fish condition, but was associated with greater abundance. In irrigation/power-generation reservoirs, stocking did not influence fish condition or abundance. Additionally, there was evidence that mortality and growth rates varied with ecosystem type. In general, channel catfish from irrigation/power-generation reservoirs were predicted to experience slower growth and lower mortality, whereas channel catfish from sand pits were predicted to experience the fastest growth and highest mortality.

    Catch rates of channel catfish were substantially less in this study compared to previous records of tandem-set hoop net surveys, but hoop nets were more efficient than the current standard gear, experimental gill nets, at capturing channel catfish. That is, 100 channel catfish could be captured with fewer sets of hoop nets than gill nets. However, catch rates and size structure of channel catfish in tandem-set hoop nets varied within the sampling season and between years. Furthermore, length-frequency distributions of channel catfish were dissimilar between hoop nets and gill nets.

    Click here to read Lindsey Chizinski's Master's Thesis on Channel Catfish Population in Nebraska

    Project Support Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
    Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/necoopunit/research.main.html#channel_catfish
    Report
    Current Status Completed
    Topic Wildlife
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Pope, Kevin
    Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
    Email kpope2@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-7028
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=759
    Project Information
    Title Anglers' Potential Impacts on Fish Populations
    Description

    This five-year study focuses on understanding the location of anglers throughout the year and their possible influence on fish populations. Anglers at five Nebraska reservoirs - Calamus, Harlan County, McConaughy, Merritt and Sherman - in addition to three to six other reservoirs (yet to be determined) will be interviewed from April to October from 2009-2013. Anglers will be interviewed in person to determine how much time they spend fishing on various reservoirs, along with what fish they caught and released or harvested.

    Another component of the study focuses on the Salt Valley region and will determine what factors lead anglers to fish one nearby reservoir over another. Anglers will be interviewed year-round at various times (i.e., both night and day) over the next four years.

    Project Support Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
    Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/necoopunit/research.main.html
    Report
    Current Status Initiated
    Topic Wildlife
    Project's Primary Contact Information
    Name Thomas, Steve
    Unit School of Natural Resources
    Email sthomas5@unl.edu
    Phone 402-472-4030
    Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=745
    Project Information
    Title From Genes to Ecosystems: How do Ecological and Evolutionary Processes Interact in Nature?
    Other(s) David Reznick, University of California, Riverside, david.reznick@ucr.edu; for biographies of the project team, click here
    Description This multi-university, multi-disciplinary five-year, $5 million project investigates the interaction between ecological and evolutionary changes by focusing on the common guppy. So far significant data has been compiled to show that not only does ecology shape the evolution of a species, but that the evolution of a species can shape its surroundings. This research is being conducted in Trinidad and is the first comprehensive effort to experimentally study links between ecology and evolution in real time in a natural ecosystem. The project makes a significant contribution to merging ecological and evolutionary theory.
    Project Support National Science Foundation
    Project Website
    Report
    Current Status Underway
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