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Rodale Institute has received a grant for nearly $6 million from the William Penn Foundation to work with Stroud Water Research Center on a project to improve soil health and water quality.

The project will focus on improving farm productivity and profits while reducing water pollution associated with agricultural runoff in the Delaware River watershed.

Cultivated cropland and other agriculture lands on as many as 15,000 farms make up 26 percent of this area.

“Agricultural runoff poses a significant threat to clean water in the Delaware River watershed,” said Andrew Johnson, program director for watershed protection at the William Penn Foundation.

“Rodale Institute and Stroud Center are nationally recognized for their expertise in agricultural practice,” Johnson said, “and through this collaboration they expect to unearth new reasons and new ways to scale practices that farmers can embrace to minimize their impact on the environment here and around the country.”

The partnership will evaluate different types of agricultural management practices and how they improve soil health, based on new data they will collect on water infiltration, runoff, soil health, stream water quality and contaminants.

The goal is to change the management practices for about 50,000 acres in the watershed.