WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., March 22, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Everglades Foundation today announced The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation as the presenting sponsor of The George Barley Water Prize, the world’s largest water prize offering $10 million to the person or team that develops the most cost-effective technology to remove phosphorus from freshwater bodies.
Together through the Barley Prize, the organizations will combat the issue of harmful algal blooms caused by excess phosphorus, which threatens the health of the Everglades and countless other freshwater bodies.
“Nutrient pollution, especially from phosphorus, is a significant and growing crisis that must be solved,” said Jim King, president of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation. “Our company is proud that we became the largest fertilizer manufacturer in the world to remove phosphorus from our fertilizer products, a step we took in 2011. But we knew then, as we still do today, that our decision would have little impact on eliminating harmful algal blooms that continue to plague freshwater bodies around the world. The decision by our Foundation to announce the sponsorship of the George Barley Water Prize on World Water Day is the first step of a multi-year commitment to elevate public awareness of this issue and celebrate the innovation that will help solve it.”
To date, the Barley Prize has attracted more than 100 teams – a community of innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs – from 13 countries. Currently in Stage 1 of four stages, the grand prize will support innovative and cost-effective technologies that will benefit more than 100,000 miles of rivers and streams and close to 2.5 million acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds.
Nutrient pollution impacts all 50 U.S. states and often threatens drinking water. It is estimated that this pollution is costing the U.S. economy $2.2 billion annually.
The Phase 1 winner was announced today at national summit titled “Global Freshwater Crisis: Impact and Innovation,” co-sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and the Everglades Foundation. Approximately 100 attendees from leading water protection entities attended the event, including Restore America’s Estuaries and the Ontario Ministry for the Environment. The Wetsus NAFRAD project – led by a group of researchers at Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University Research in the Netherlands – was named the Barley Water Prize Stage 1 Winner. The Wetsus team’s innovation technology aims to provide a total solution to nutrient pollution through a method used to recover phosphate from waterways.
Cameron Davis, Vice President at GEI Consultants, Inc, and former senior advisor to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and former President and CEO of The Alliance for Great Lakes, as well as the Honorable Stephen Johnson, former Administrator of the U.S. EPA under President George W. Bush, provided the group keynote remarks.
“Scotts Miracle-Gro is an innovative leader in their industry, committed to solutions. We are excited to collaborate with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation in this one-of-a-kind partnership,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Everglades Foundation. “They embody exactly what The George Barley Water Prize is all about – thought leadership, innovation, and a commitment to clean water across the globe.”
“Thank you to The Knight Foundation for their sponsorship of the summit,” concluded Eikenberg.
For more information on the competition, please visit BarleyPrize.org.
About The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission is to inspire, connect and cultivate communities of purpose in the areas of environmental improvement, youth empowerment, and community gardens and greenspaces. The Foundation carries out its mission by funding qualifying charitable entities that support its core initiatives in the form of grants, endowments, and multi-year capital gifts. The Foundation is deeply rooted in preserving our planet, empowering the next generation, and helping create healthier communities. For more information, visit www.scottsmiraclegrofoundation.org
About The Everglades Foundation
The Everglades Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to leading efforts to restore and protect the greater Everglades ecosystem. Since its founding in 1993 by a group of local outdoor enthusiasts, the Foundation has become a respected and important advocate for the sustainability of one of the world’s most unique ecosystems.
America’s Everglades is prominent among our nation’s environmental treasures. In addition to providing nearly eight million Floridians with clean and plentiful drinking water, the Everglades is home to no fewer than 77 threatened or endangered species of plant and animal life. From an economic point of view, nearly 400,000 jobs in tourism, recreation, boating, fishing, real estate and numerous other sectors depend upon – and benefit from – a healthy Everglades.
Funds raised by the Foundation are used for scientific research, advancing understanding of the Greater Everglades ecosystem and to provide grants to our conservation partners. Through environmental leadership, scientific expertise, education, and policy experience, the Everglades Foundation works to protect and restore America’s Everglades. Learn more at www.evergladesfoundation.org.