The challenges facing the Ogallala Aquifer region today are relatively well defined. We know how much groundwater is in the aquifer and how much it has declined since irrigation started with sufficient accuracy to identify key depletion hotspots and project decline rates moving forward. What has not yet been solved is how we will respond as a region to these challenges in a way that maximizes water use efficiency and perhaps even stabilizes groundwater levels. The Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture project (OWCAP) is a 4-year project funded by USDA-NIFA in 2016 to support a regional, interdisciplinary research and outreach effort to water and long-term agricultural sustainability issues facing the High Plains. The project’s research and outreach are informed by and target a wide range of stakeholders at the local, State and Federal level.
Meagan Schipanski, co-director of the USDA-NIFA funded Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project (OWCAP) is an Assistant Professor at CSU. Her research focuses on understanding plant-soil interactions that mediate nutrient cycling using concepts from ecology and biogeochemistry. Her group investigates organic matter, nutrient, and water dynamics within cropping systems from rhizosphere to global scales using on-farm, experiment station, greenhouse, and modeling experiments.