U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) announced $3.3 million in federal funding for projects at the University of North Dakota that will help expand educational opportunities and boost the Red River Valley Research Corridor.
Dorgan included $3 million in the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill to support research and educational programs at the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium (UMAC). The program uses data and research from NASA’ satellites and space program and makes it available to citizens in the Northern Great Plains for practical applications such as precision agriculture, land and soil management, and drought and flood mitigation. The program has made about 800 aircraft and satellite images available for public use, and resulted in the production of the AgCam, which will be launched on a space shuttle for installation on the international space station.
“The work that is being done at UMAC is a textbook example of the ways we can use the Research Corridor to benefit our students and our economy in North Dakota,” Dorgan said. “It benefits not only our students and research industry in Grand Forks, but also our family farmers and ranchers around the state. This funding will help us continue this critically important project.”
The federal funding will also support other programs, such as UND’s Native Americans Into Law program.
The funding will give support to the Rural Methamphetamine Education Project at Minot State University to help expand the reach of its successful methamphetamine research and educational training and awareness program by making its research and presentations available through the Internet and multimedia productions. In addition, MSU will continue its outreach to tribal communities and its research on the environmental effects of former meth lab sites.
The bill also directs the Administration to maintain operation of the Williston Radar Station, a vital information link providing needed weather warnings that can save the lives of both people and livestock in northwestern North Dakota and northeastern Montana. Dorgan said he has worked to ensure the radar site keeps running until he receives assurances that the nearest station, a Federal Aviation Administration site that is more than 40 miles away, can provide coverage for low-altitude snowstorms that may not show up on some radar.
The funding also will be used for equipment, staffing and operation of a new 18-bed, youth detention facility on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota. Juveniles had been transported to detention facilities off the reservation, diverting limited resources to transport and house these juveniles at other facilities, the Senator’s office said.
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