Alumnus support led to grantLandry said the Georgia-North Carolina EPA grant was madepossible by the efforts of the Georgia Turfgrass Association, theNorth Carolina Turfgrass Council and a UGA alumnus.”The main individual who made this grant possible is Sam Lang, aUGA CAES graduate,” Landry said. A native of Swainsboro Ga., Lang now owns a professional lawn carecompany in Raleigh, N.C. “Since he graduated, Sam has kept inclose contact with our college,” Landry said. “He relied on ourExtension specialists for recommendations when he worked in theAtlanta area. He has also helped recruit students for our collegeand served as a guest lecturer in turfgrass classes.”The urban agriculture industry in Georgia, which includesturfgrass, provides more than 79,000 jobs and annuallygenerates more than $8.1 billion to the state’seconomy. By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaUniversity of Georgia and North Carolina State Universityresearchers have received more than $650,000 in grant funds fromthe Environmental Protection Agency for turfgrass research intheir home states.In Georgia, the grant will be used over the next two years tofund eight turfgrass research projects in the UGA College ofAgricultural and Environmental Sciences. Less inputs, impact on environment”All of these projects relate to turfgrass’ overall environmentalimpact on our state,” Landry said. “Our main objective is to lookat improving sustainability of turfgrass management in ourenvironment. We know that turfgrasses can significantly improve the environment in many ways. We are constantly examining ways to produce healthy turfgrass using the least amount of inputs.”Turfgrasses reduce soil erosion, and improve water quality in the process, Landry said. Turfgrasses also absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful gases while releasing oxygen and cooling the environment.Industry leaders, like Georgia Turfgrass Association Past-President Ken Morrow, look forward to reaping the benefits of theresults of the new research projects.”The main benefit I see is the project will identifysustainable turfgrass systems for climates in this region,”Morrow, president of Sod Atlanta, said. “I also see the benefitsof identifying the potential enhancements to the environment thatturfgrass provides, such as errosion control and generalenvironmental enhancement.” Industry, consumers will benefit”These funds are allowing us to do projects that we would not beable to do otherwise,” said Gil Landry, coordinator of theGeorgia Center for Urban Agriculture on the UGA campus inGriffin, Ga. “Each research project we complete directly impactsturfgrass professionals and most will also impact individual homeowners in the state.”The grant will fund UGA Seashore Paspalum turfgrass breedingefforts. Seashore paspalum can be irrigated using a wide qualityrange of water, including seawater, brackish water and recycledwater. The grass needs only minimal pesticides and judiciousapplications of fertilizers.UGA scientists also plan to use the grant funds to investigatealternative methods of turfgrass insect control, theenvironmental fate of pesticides used on turfgrass, turfgrassdisease control, environmental management of turfgrass and usingturfgrass for erosion control.UGA agricultural economists will study economic value of the industry and individual lawns to property owners.