Three Utah State University professors received the U.S. Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation Award during a ceremony June 14 in the Agricultural Science Building on the USU campus.
The Cooperative Conservation Award was presented to Larry Rupp, department head of Plants, Soils and Biometeorology; Roger Kjelgren and Kelly Kopp, professors in the same department. All received the award for their research and work on urban water conservation performed in cooperation with Michael Stuver and Fred Liljegren of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Upper Colorado Region.
"This is a great honor for USU and an accomplishment to work in conjunction with such fine national researchers on a project that has real impact," said Brent Miller, USU's vice president for research. "This research is one example of the hard work being done by professors and students throughout the university."
Rupp, Kjelgren and Kopp helped implement the Landscape Irrigation Simplified program that educates residential, commercial and institutional land owners about water use on turfgrass. The program, which was supported by congressionally directed funds, teaches how much water to apply to grass landscapes, how often to apply it and how to apply it evenly.
"We searched to find an area of water conservation we could study that would affect the most lives," said Kopp. "That desire led us to some very interesting research."
The team looked at recent studies showing that turfgrass is the largest irrigated crop in the United States. Research done by Rupp and Kjelgren showed that double the amount of water, or more, is applied to turfgrass than needed.
One of the many criteria of the award was promoting the use of natural resources in a responsible manner that encourages a healthy and dynamic economy. The programs created by these professors provide an opportunity for university graduates, trained in these principles, to educate professionals and the public about responsible water usage.