WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a new prize competition seeking sustainable solutions to manage aquatic vegetation in canals. Winning ideas will share in a total prize purse of $345,000.
This challenge aims to reduce the cost and labor of aquatic vegetation management in canals throughout Reclamation while minimizing impacts to water quality and downstream users. The challenge seeks to identify, develop, and test novel, sustainable, scalable solutions that can be used across a range of canal types.
“This prize competition has the potential to improve water delivery across Reclamation canals and reduce operational costs,” said Scott O’Meara, Botanist, Bureau of Reclamation. “We are excited to see the innovative ideas competitors develop to advance our aquatic vegetation management strategies.”
The primary methods for vegetation management in canals include mechanical and chemical processes both of which have drawbacks. Mechanical methods are costly, labor-intensive, can disrupt embankments, and create debris and sedimentation issues. Chemical options are limited for aquatic environments, and while less labor-intensive than mechanical methods, they can be costly, unsafe, and present undesirable downstream effects.
The competition consists of three phases:
- Concept Phase – Requires competitors to submit a white paper describing their innovative method for managing aquatic vegetation in canals.
- Prototyping Phase – Competitors that advance to this phase of the competition will develop their prototype and complete early testing.
- Proof-of-Concept Demonstration Phase – Competitors will complete recorded and live demonstrations of their solution in a canal or in a controlled environment to show solution functionality and ability to meet competition criteria.
Reclamation is partnering with NASA Tournament Lab and HeroX on this competition. For more information on this challenge, visit www.usbr.gov/research/challenges/vegout.html
Reclamation conducts prize competitions to spur innovation by engaging a non-traditional, problem-solver community. Please visit Reclamation's Prize Competition Center to learn more.