Co-PI John Majsztrik working with student Damon Abdi to install automatic water samplers

Researcher John Majsztrik works with student Damon Abdi to install automatic water samplers.

CLEMSON — Clemson University scientists researching ways to reduce water pollution and protect a rare species of fish landed grants from the South Carolina Water Resources Center.

Sarah A. White and Brandon Peoples received the awards of $26,144 and $24,093, respectively,  as part of the center’s annual statewide competitive research program. The program supports research considered critical to the future health of South Carolina’s water resources, and is administered by the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) and overseen by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

“The research being performed by these two young scientists aligns perfectly with the South Carolina Water Resources Center’s mission to serve as a research facilitator and act as a conduit for information necessary to inform stakeholders and policy-makers on the condition of South Carolina’s water resources,” said Jeffery Allen, the center’s director.

White is working to develop a filtration system for capturing and recycling phosphorus found in agricultural runoff water. When phosphorus-rich water ends up in streams, lakes and other surface water systems, it can cause algal blooms, limiting recreation activities and harming fish, insects and other life. The recycled phosphorus can be used as fertilizer.

Bartram's bass under water.

Bartram’s Bass.

“Capturing phosphorus before it leaves an operation is beneficial for the environment and growers of specialty crops, including annuals and perennials, berries, fruit trees and vegetables,” White said. “This project includes a partnership with a local nursery where we will evaluate the success of pilot-scale filtration systems so that in the near future growers can successfully recycle bound phosphorus in potting substrates and soil amendments.”

Peoples is working to understand how Bartram’s Bass populations respond to invasive species and habitat change in the Savannah basin, better enabling management of the watershed and its fishery resources.

“Bartram’s Bass is endemic to the Savannah River drainage; it lives nowhere else in the world,” said Peoples. “The fish are not only important to recreation because they’re fun to catch and important, but they can also tell us about the health of the watershed.”

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South Carolina Water Resources Center
Clemson University’s South Carolina Water Resources Center serves as a liaison between the U.S. Geological Survey, the university community and the water resources constituencies across South Carolina. It is one of 54 institutes working collectively through the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR). The Center serves as a research facilitator and acts as a conduit for information necessary in the resource management decision-making and policy arenas of the state. For more information, visit http://www.clemson.edu/scwater.

It is one of 54 institutes located in land-grant institutions under the umbrella organization of National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR). NIWR cooperates with the U.S. Geological Survey to support, coordinate and facilitate research through the 104(b) Annual Base Grants awarded by the State Water Resources Research Institute Program (WRRI). Approximately $5 million in 104(b) grants are awarded annually to NIWR member institutes to help each institute plan and conduct applied and peer-reviewed research, education, and outreach activities on water.