USDA Awards Hood College Nearly $79,000 for Water Quality Assessment

FREDERICK, Maryland—Hood College has been awarded nearly $79,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to monitor water quality in the Catoctin Creek Watershed, in southwestern Frederick County.

Catoctin Creek is a USDA National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) watershed, and as such has been monitored since 2013 with a focus on conservation investments and cleaner water quality. Hood’s Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies (CCWS) will assess the NWQI conservation practices at selected sites in the middle and lower Catoctin Creek subwatersheds.

The USDA’s National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide staff support, facilities, equipment and data. In consultation with NRCS staff, Hood College will develop a water quality monitoring program for the Catoctin Creek Watershed. Sampling sites will be located to assess impacts of agricultural conservation practices implemented in the watershed.

“We are happy to be working on this monitoring project with the NRCS,” said Drew Ferrier, director of the CCWS. “Such opportunities allow Hood to provide a service to the Frederick County community and involve our students and staff in a vital local environmental project.”

This assessment will include sampling of monitored sites over a two-year period to test water for nutrients, sediments and bacteria. Hood will then analyze and interpret the potential impacts of current conservation practices and report findings to the NRCS. The grant money will fund field and lab work, data analysis, and reporting over the two-year period.

Hood College is an independent, liberal arts college, offering 28 bachelor’s degrees, four pre-professional programs, 19 master’s degrees programs, two doctorates and 10 post-baccalaureate certificates. Located in historic Frederick, near Washington, D.C., Baltimore and the I-270 technology corridor, Hood gives students access to countless internships and research opportunities.

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