New Nutrient Recovery Technology Supports Sustainable Agriculture
In mid-June 2022 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) demonstrated the progress of the EPA 2021 Farmer-to-Farmer grant project. $959, 754 was awarded to the NWFWMD for their Algae Harvesting and Biomass Reuse project, which involves capturing unused nutrients from agricultural processes and transforming them into a biofertilizer, which supports sustainable nutrient reduction in agricultural runoff.
What’s the objective of the project?
What is the NWFWMD and EPA’s Farmer-to-Farmer project’s objective? To “demonstrate how nutrients discharged within the Gulf of Mexico watersheds from farming operations can be captured and reused on-site.”
“Nutrient management is important to creating thriving waterbodies for commercial and recreation uses,” Marc Wyatt, Director of the EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Division, says. “The environmental benefits of nutrient reuse, as a biofertilizer, will improve the health of ecosystems for generations to come.”
What are the results of the program?
The nutrient reuse applications demonstrated in this program have many positive outcomes. They include:
- Reducing the release of toxic algae into the environment, and reducing public exposure to toxins like microcystin.
- Demonstrating the potential for reuse of extracted nutrients in the form of treated algae slurry.
- Improving water use efficiency through the reapplication and reuse of water, which can reduce demands on regional water sources.
- Demonstrating the applicability and effectiveness of this nutrient-reuse approach and technology, both regionally in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.
What is Farmer-to-Farmer grant funding?
This grant funding is designed to help develop innovative practices within farming communities, measure the results of those efforts, and identify how such practices can be implemented into farming operations. Historically, the EPA has awarded $20 million to support projects with the aim of improving water quality, habitat, and environmental education in the Gulf of Mexico watershed.
The EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Division was founded to facilitate action to protect, maintain, and restore the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico Division continues to maintain and expand partnerships with state and federal agencies, local governments, federally recognized tribes, regional businesses, agricultural organizations, and more.
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