In March, 2017, Kate and her colleague, Dr. Jarrod Miller, a UMD extension agent in Somerset Co. proposed a project to UMD's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources with the overall goal of integrating both extension (UME) and research (MAES) in the development of best management practices for adapting and mitigating coastal farms in eastern Maryland to intruding saltwater via rising sea-levels. Since little research has investigated the effects of sea-level rise on coastal farmlands and farmers in this region are actively seeking strategies to mitigate the effects of saltwater intrusion, Kate and Jarrod's proposal was accepted and funding was granted to support the collection of preliminary data for a more robust USDA proposal they are currently writing.
Last week, they met at their field site near Princess Anne, MD to set up plots and begin experimental treatments using various crops and management strategies. Overall, the field crew made light work of the tasks at hand but no one managed to leave without a few aching muscles or tick bites. By the second week of July, experimental sampling will begin and we expect to learn much about the survival and productivity of various crops, the quality of pore water in terms of nutrients and hydrology, and soil nutrients in order to elucidate this issue for the public. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months!
- By Cullen McAskill