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Ed Brands awarded Faculty Research Program Grant

Ed Brands, assistant professor of environmental studies, received funding for his project Mapping Manure in West Central Minnesota Watersheds through a Faculty Interactive Research Program (FIRP) grant.

Awarded through the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, FIRP's purpose is to encourage University of Minnesota faculty to carry out research projects that involve significant issues of public policy for the state.

Brands' work will use the manure records from approximately 450 animal feeding operations (AFO) from Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Kandiyohi, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens and Swift counties. From these, he will create a database and maps of AFO manure generation, transfer and application to land in the Chippewa River Watershed and the Pomme de Terre River Watershed.

The maps will help facilitate the fecal coliform total maximum daily load (TMDL) plans by local watershed groups and projects. TMDL plans are put in place when a water body does not meet federal and/or state requirements for pollutants.

AFOs have been identified by the MPCA as one of the major sources of fecal coliform bacteria in the Pomme de Terre and Chippewa River watersheds.

The outcomes of the project will include a better understanding of the distribution of manure generation, when and where it is applied to land and the relationship (or lack thereof) between the amount, timing and methods of manure application and fecal coliform bacteria in nearby water bodies.

Brand is working with the Detroit Lakes and Willmar MPCA offices to obtain data. He is also working with the Pomme de Terre River Association and the Chippewa River Watershed Project.

He will share the project results with these organizations and any others than are interested.