Three research grants recently awarded by the National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation totaling $12,500 will further study in the areas of public health, ground water resource management, and climate change.

The selected projects:

Database Independent Microbial Source Tracking to Determine the Source of Fecal Pollution in Ground Water – This research includes an investigation of the space between the bottom of a well pump intake and the bottom of the borehole in domestic well systems, and its potential to promote bacterial growth and to harbor other microorganisms. Lawrence Goodridge, assistant professor of food microbiology at the Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, is the lead investigator.

Determination of Helium Release Rates for Dating Old Ground Water in a Carbonate Aquifer – Researchers hope to establish the basis for sustainable regional water resource management decisions that support both future development and ecosystem health. Victor Heilweil of the U.S. Geological Survey and Kip Solomon of the University of Utah and a former Henry Darcy Distinguished Lectur-er, are the lead investigators.

Interactions Between Fire, Vegetation, Climate and Ground Water in a Burned Ponderosa Pine/Gambel’s Oak Watershed – The semiarid southwestern United States currently is suffering from a long-term drought. In addition, scientists are predicting a continued rise in global temperatures. This type of climate change is thought to have potential impacts upon water supplies. Continued climate change and fire suppression may further limit the water supply. This research project intends to identify linkages between fire, vegetation, climate and ground water recharge, with an aim toward allowing managers to better justify the use of fire as a tool to increase water yield. Deborah Finch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, is the lead investigator.