Water Institute Affiliate Faculty awarded NIFA grant to assess the impacts of saltwater intrusion in agricultural areas.

The Water Institute congratulates Drs. Haimanote Bayabil, Bin Gao, Yuncong Li and Zhaohui Tong for being awarded a half million dollars NIFA grant to study the impacts of Salt Water Intrusion (SWI) in agricultural areas and assess management decisions to mitigate its impacts.

Using an integrated approach that includes column studies, landscape monitoring, and modeling, the team will assess the effects that increased soil salinity has on the hydrological, physical, chemical, and biological attributes of agricultural soils. The team will also investigate how salinity affects ecosystem processes that are associated with enhancing agricultural productivity (i.e. regulation of water flow, nutrient transformation, and regulation of greenhouse gas emissions). The study will finally evaluate the effectiveness of different management strategies in mitigating the negative effects of SWI, including application of engineered biochar, salt repelling hydrogel, and gypsum, and organic mulch.

Dr. Bayabil, the Principal Investigator of the project, expects that this improved understanding of the processes and impacts of SWI on soil health will assist in guiding policy and decisions regarding best management practices to mitigate the impacts of SWI.

*Drs. Haimanote Bayabil, Bin Gao and Yuncong Li are affiliated with the Water Institute