Heidelberg University’s National Center for Water Quality Research (NCWQR) has partnered with research units of the U.S. Department of Agriculture at The Ohio State University and Purdue University to create a formal research relationship.
The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service has established the newly formed Eastern Corn Belt Long-Term Agro-ecosystem Research (LTAR) Node. The new node will allow the three organizations – the Soil Drainage Research Unit at OSU, the National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory at Purdue and Heidelberg’s NCWQR – to combine their broad expertise and long-term data sets as they continue to study water quality issues in the Ohio River Basin and the Great Lakes regions.
The Eastern Corn Belt LTAR Node represents one of eight new nodes in a national network that now numbers 18; it also will partner with another new node located at the Kellogg Biological Station of Michigan State University.
Purdue, Ohio State and Heidelberg have collaborated previously, according to Dr. Kenneth Krieger, director of the NCWQR. “This new collaboration represents us coming together in a more formal manner to collectively enhance our research,” Krieger said. “Each of our labs has its own focus and expertise. This (partnership) enlarges the scope of the projects that would otherwise be able to be performed by individual groups, and it networks us with the other LTARs throughout the country.”
“The NCWQR is enthusiastic about this prestigious new relationship, which builds on a variety of collaborations we have undertaken with the two ARS programs at Ohio State and Purdue in the past,” Krieger said.
Together, the organizations’ long-term data sets will be used to address the impacts of agricultural production systems on the environment. In all, 20 research scientists and more than 26 skilled support personnel will lend expertise in such areas as soil water dynamics, erosion processes, fate and transport of sediments, nutrients and pesticides, soil quality, drainage water management and other ecological and agricultural issues.
Currently, none of the 18 LTAR nodes receive specifically designated funding. Krieger is hopeful that may change, as funding is pending through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Our formal inclusion in this LTAR node should enhance our grant-seeking success and further broaden the growing scope of our research and monitoring programs here at Heidelberg.”
On March 20, the NCWQR will host the first meeting of the Eastern Corn Belt LTAR participants on campus.