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EPA Science Matters: December 5, 2017

Using too much fertilizer can waste farmers’ money and impact groundwater and surface water across the country. EPA researchers are working with farmers to connect agricultural practices with groundwater management in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The goal of the research is to improve water quality and help Oregon farmers reduce their annual spending on fertilizer.

Prescribed burns in prairies can get rid of invasive plants and rejuvenate the soil, which encourages native grasses to grow. However, the smoke plumes from the fires can contribute to air pollution in nearby communities and farther downwind. EPA researchers are conducting research in Flint Hills, Kansas, to support best smoke management practices for prescribed burns of prairies to reduce the impact of smoke on communities.

It is well documented that minorities and economically-disadvantaged communities are disproportionately exposed to environmental stressors associated with negative health outcomes. In 2012, EPA partnered with the National Institute on Minority Health Disparities to establish ten transdisciplinary research centers to help reduce these disparities. The centers have focused on research and tool development, community outreach and engagement, as well as education and training. This report provides a summary of their accomplishments and impacts so far.