Geosciences Researchers Receive NASA EPSCoR Grant


Researchers in the Geosciences Department at the University of Montana received a $750,000 NASA EPSCoR grant to develop and apply remote sensing technologies and in order to provide insight into the resiliency of Montana’s agricultural system to drought, and to understand the impact of agricultural activity on the hydrologic cycle, on water security, and on other users.

Geoscientist Marco Maneta of the University of Montana and co-PIs Brian Chaffin (UM), John Kimball (UM), Kelsey Jensco (UM) Bruce Maxwell (MSU), and Stephanie Ewing from (MSU) will team up with hydrologists at the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to carry out this research. They will integrate NASA technologies and advanced computer models to understand and anticipate how farmers allocate resources (land, water and fertilizer) to accommodate new or reduced access to water, and to understand how their decisions impact river flows and water users downstream. This research will help Montana develop new state-of-the-art technology to tackle the water challenges faced by farmers across the country.

"This will help us understand how farmers use water and land when confronted with water shortages, policy interventions, or shifts in agricultural markets," said Dr. Marco Maneta, the study's principal investigator. "It will also allow us to simulate the impact of a range of climate and agricultural market scenarios on agricultural water use and revenues in Montana, and to inform water policy that promotes agricultural adaptation and resiliency. Understanding imbalances in the water supply and demand systems is a key component of addressing the vulnerability of Montana's farming system."

For more information on the research project, call Aaron Deskins in UM’s Department of Geosciences at 406-243-5853 or email