Bureau of Reclamation is Investing $8.56 Million in Science and Technology Research Projects

Written by: Peter Soeth

Dressenid mussel under a scanning electron microscope.
Dressenid mussel under a scanning electron microscope.
WASHINGTON - Bureau of Reclamation Acting Commissioner Alan Mikkelsen announced that Reclamation's Research and Development Office is providing $8.56 million for 25 new and 119 continuing research projects for fiscal year 2018 through its Science and Technology Program. Included in this funding is $1.54 million for eight new and 13 continuing projects supporting invasive zebra and quagga mussel research.

The Science and Technology Program seeks internal expertise and experience to address Reclamation challenges associated with managing water and generating power in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner in the American West.

"Reclamation's science and engineering expertise is known throughout the world and will be used to help address some challenges we are facing in delivering water and generating power," Acting Commissioner Mikkelsen said. "These research projects will help Reclamation and its partners assure a sustainable water supply into the future."

Research proposals were sought in five research areas:

Water Infrastructure
Power and Energy
Environmental Issues with Water Delivery and Management
Water Operations and Planning
Developing New Supplies

Several new projects being awarded this fiscal year support Reclamation’s efforts to monitor and control for invasive zebra and quagga mussels in order to minimize impacts on Reclamation facilities and operations.  One new project will compare next-generation DNA sequencing to traditional morphological identification to improve monitoring. A second project will expand on the sequencing of the quagga mussel genome as a tool for biocontrol. Two other projects will explore techniques to control and minimize shell debris impacts on pipe systems within our facilities. Another project will evaluate the economics of activities associated with invasive mussel management within Reclamation.

In other research areas, projects address important issues such as cavitation detection in hydraulic turbines, concrete repair, coatings, canal seepage and erosion control, atmospheric rivers, risk-based decision-making for reservoir operations, cost modeling the desalination process, and utilizing water treatment waste brine as an energy storage system.

Reclamation identified the research projects through a competitive call for proposals throughout the organization. Internal researchers were invited to submit and lead proposed projects providing innovative solutions that can be applied throughout Reclamation for the benefit of Reclamation's water and power facility managers, its customers and stakeholders. The proposals were reviewed and ranked based on technical validity and relevance to Reclamation's mission. Many of these projects partner with internal or external entities to produce robust and comprehensive solutions.

Though most of the research projects are submitted through the competitive process, there are some that are brokered. Brokered research projects are conducted by the Research and Development Office to address priority research needs and by each of Reclamation’s five regional Science and Technology Program coordinators responding to their respective regional director priority needs.

To learn more about Reclamation's Science and Technology Program please visit https://www.usbr.gov/research/st/index.html.

View the new Science and Technology Research Awards.

Published on September 21, 2017