NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A research project spearheaded by the University of New Mexico (UNM) is looking to create a better understanding of the headwaters of some key rivers in the state and beyond. Now, the project has federal funding to support the work.

Researchers will use a $2.5 million grant to examine the headwaters of five watersheds. They’ll look at the Upper Santa Fe River in New Mexico and river systems in Nevada, Alabama, Arkansas, and New Hampshire as well.

The project is among several selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as part of their clean-energy research funding program. “America’s next big energy breakthrough can come from anywhere in the nation, and that’s why federal R&D investments should reach and benefit all parts of the country,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a press release. “The funding we’re announcing today will spur innovation and create energy jobs around the nation.”

The goal of the UNM-led project is to understand how changes to a watershed’s headwaters can impact surface water quality and the watershed’s ecosystem, according to a press release.