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$10 Million to Safely, Affordably Reduce Algae-Causing Phosphorus in Waterways

[Palmetto Bay, FL], [August 31, 2017] – The Everglades Foundation today announced that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has issued a $1 million challenge grant in support of the George Barley Water Prize (  The Barley Prize is a bold freshwater science initiative, and this challenge grant from NFWF is one of the largest grants the Everglades Foundation has received in its 24-year history.

Now entering its second year, the Barley Prize incentivizes entrepreneurs, scientists, corporations and researchers to develop a cost-effective solution for removing excess phosphorus from freshwater bodies.  The winning team will receive $10 million – money that was contributed by a private donor – and will be well positioned to try to commercialize its technology to help solve one of the world’s most intractable environmental problems.

Over the course of the next 12 months, the NFWF grant will match contributions to the Barley Prize from other foundations, corporations and private donors, dollar-for-dollar, up to $1 million, providing a major source of support for the innovative four-year-long competition.

“To have the world-renowned National Fish and Wildlife Foundation join us in sponsoring the Barley Prize is a prestigious vote of confidence in our approach,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation.

Already, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation has come on board as the competition’s presenting sponsor, and other organizations such as the Knight Foundation and Xylem have become sponsors, as well.  Scotts has received praise for its decision several years ago to remove phosphorus from its home fertilizer products, and for its creation last year of the Water Positive Network, a working group of water-focused non-profit organizations around the U.S. working on solutions to water quantity and quality issues.

Chartered by Congress, NFWF is the nation’s largest conservation grant-maker, supporting more than 16,000 efforts in all 50 states since its founding in 1984. NFWF’s grant review practice is a highly competitive process that includes vigorous evaluations.

“We are pleased to support the Everglades Foundation’s efforts to tackle removing excess phosphorous from our nation’s freshwater bodies through the pursuit of new and innovative technology solutions,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO, NFWF.

Phosphorus is essential to plant growth and human health — it is second only to calcium as the most common mineral found in the human body — but in waterways, excess phosphorus nurtures the growth of algae that are killing fish, destroying precious supplies of drinking water, and spoiling water quality.

According to the World Resources Institute, more than 15,000 freshwater bodies are affected by phosphorus pollution, including some on every continent.  In the U.S. alone, the estimated cost of phosphorus pollution is between $2.2 and $4.6 billion each year, as it takes a devastating toll on drinking water, ecosystems, water-dependent industries, and even real estate values.

Runoff from mankind’s excess use of phosphorus in agricultural and industrial processes is so extensive, scientists believe, that even if its use were to be eliminated altogether, there is so much of the mineral already stored in water and soil that it would continue to be a serious pollutant, creating algae blooms for decades (if not centuries) to come.  Governments across the globe have failed to come up with any large scale cost-effective method for removing the legacy phosphorus.

In the early 1700s, the Longitude Rewards helped develop the first practical method for determining a ship’s precise position at sea. In 1927, the Orteig Prize motivated Charles Lindbergh to create his nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic. In 2004, the Ansari X Prize led to the creation of the billion-dollar private space industry.

“Since no cost-effective technology now exists to reduce the flow of phosphorus,” said Eikenberg, “we are challenging the world’s brightest scientists and most talented researchers to invent one.”

In addition to the grand prize — the biggest such incentive award in history for a water competition, and one of the largest science prizes of any kind — several smaller awards will motivate researchers along the path of discovery, including prizes for the most promising developments based on laboratory testing and cold water field analysis, Eikenberg said.

The prize is named for the late George Barley, who co-founded the Everglades Foundation along with Paul Tudor Jones II.

“Already, 92 teams from 13 countries on four continents are hard at work in pursuit of solutions that they hope will result in safer, more affordable means to remove existing phosphorus in waterways,” noted Eikenberg. “For the winning team, the $10 million prize will just be a down payment on the profits that will flow once these new technologies are brought to market.”



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

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation:

Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $3.8 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at


For further information and non-copyrighted, public domain B-Roll and images, visit: (overview of the issue, narrated by Tom Brokaw), (ScottsMiracle-Gro’s announcement), and (summary of the first stage of the competition, presented on World Water Day 2017)

CONTACT:  Edyna Garcia –

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