Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge Accepting Applications now through 9/20/2017

Nutrient pollution, one of our most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems, is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in water.

Too much nitrogen and phosphorus in the water causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. This growth  causes major environmental damage as well as serious health problems in people and animals. Nutrient pollution and resulting algal blooms cost billions, hurting industries and sectors that depend on clean water. Federal, state and local governments spend billions of dollars per year to combat nutrient pollution or prevent its effects.


The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge builds upon the 2014 Nutrient Sensor Challenge, which helped develop affordable, high-performing, continuous nutrient sensors and analyzers. The 2017 challenge calls for demonstrations showing: 1) the effective use of low-cost continuous sensors, 2) innovative partnerships to pilot the sensors and manage data, and 3) how collected information can be used in state and local decision-making     By building successful strategies for incorporating nutrient sensors into existing water monitoring efforts, the Challenge can help states and local communities overcome barriers to preventing and reducing nutrient pollution.

Stage 1 - closes September 20, 2017  In Stage 1, teams will submit action plans describing an approach for sensor deployment and use, and how they will meet challenge goals. The plans will be judged and up to 5 winning applications will be selected. The top entries will be awarded cash prizes totaling $50,000 and invited to participate in Stage 2.

Stage 2 - Spring 2018  In Stage 2 of the Challenge, teams will deploy the sensors and collect data as they compete for a share in $100,000 in prizes.


The Nutrient Sensors Action Challenge is open to communities and organizations interested in deploying two or more low-cost (less than $15k) continuous nutrient sensors to address an important water quality problem. Teams should be currently engaged in water quality monitoring and have some level of experience and as well as sophistication with data management, and communication. This challenge is open to communities and organizations in the United States.

Read more about how to enter