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Field Biology awarded EPA grant for Kentucky water project

The Center of Excellence for Field Biology at Austin Peay State University recently was awarded a $75,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to continue a sinkhole and wetland restoration project with the goal of improving water quality in Logan County, Ky.

The target area of the grant is the Pleasant Grove Creek watershed that flows south into the upper Red River near Adairville, Ky.
The Center of Excellence for Field Biology at Austin Peay State University recently was awarded a $75,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to continue a sinkhole and wetland restoration project with the goal of improving water quality in Logan County, Ky.

The target area of the grant is the Pleasant Grove Creek watershed that flows south into the upper Red River near Adairville, Ky.

The $75,000 is from the EPA's Regional Priorities National Grant Initiative. The Center for Field Biology will help to match a portion of the competitive EPA grant — the first for the Center — bringing this year's total funding for the Pleasant Grove Creek subwatershed project to $115,000. But with combined in-kind matching funds of $208,333 from previous project partners, total grant funding of the project for the Center now amounts to $323,333.

Dr. Andrew Barrass, assistant professor of biology and project manager, said the EPA grant will fund a number of components:
• Wetland/sinkhole restoration demonstration project, led by Dr. Betsie Rothermel, assistant professor of biology and researcher at APSU.
• Enhanced GIS mapping of the watershed, Mike Wilson, manager of the APSU GIS Center.
• Focused watershed education, Michelle Rogers, researcher at APSU.
• Development of a regional workshop designed to review nutrient management in polluted waters, directed by the Center staff.

In early 2006, the Center received $125,000 as part of a Kentucky Nonpoint Source Program grant. The funding is over a five-year period from the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources and used to reduce nonpoint-source pollutants in the Pleasant Grove Creek Subwatershed, which flows southwest toward Tennessee just across the state line.

Nonpoint-source pollution, unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants, refers to pollutants borne by runoff from rain, melting snow, lawn watering, agricultural and other sources into streams and aquifers. Within the Pleasant Grove watershed, the major pollutant is sediment runoff. The watershed is listed on a national registry of most polluted waters for Kentucky.

For more information, contact Barrass by telephone at (931) 221-7782 or by e-mail at barrassa@apsu.edu. -- Melony A. Jones