The Delaware Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is a partner in a three-year, $6-million grant from the National Science Foundation through its EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-2 program.
The grant program supports research by consortia of EPSCoR jurisdictions. Through this award, Delaware will join with the EPSCoR programs in Rhode Island and Vermont to form the North East Water Resources Network (NEWRnet). Two million dollars of the grant will go to each of the three states involved.
The proposed research will address and integrate two grand challenges in environmental science and management:
• The complex interactions among land use, water quality, and aquatic ecosystems; and
• How this knowledge can be used by managers and policy makers to inform decisions about resource management.
The research will involve the placement of an extensive network of environmental sensors in key watersheds in each state to gather hydrological and geochemical data.
These sensors will yield information about the export of carbon and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from the watershed over time, including periods of high or low water flow associated with the storms and droughts that are predicted to become more frequent as the region’s climate changes.
At the same time, the researchers will conduct a series of laboratory and field economics experiments and agent-based modeling to determine how stakeholders will accept and use the data collected by the sensor network.