Some University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists won a nearly $1 million USDA grant.
It centers around a special drone.
The drone will collect water samples from lakes, streams and ponds.
This project is a joint collaboration between the computer science and engineering department and the natural resources department.
The Nebraska intelligent mobile unmanned systems (NIMBUS) lab added three vials and a pump on the bottom of the drone.
The drone will fly out to remote places and collect the water sample.
The team is currently developing software to make the process more user friendly.
"You just arrive on scene, have it take off and it can go out into the middle of the lake and take a number of samples and come back so you can do it much quicker and you can send it to locations that you just cant get a boat to right now," says Dr. Carrick Detweiler, UNL computer science & engineering, assistant professor.
"Nebraska's bounty comes from hard work and clean water and water is the world's most valuable stuff. So this project is going to help us preserve our clean water for future generations," says John-Paul Ore, a gradate student in charge of the project.
One example of when these drones could be used is a few years back when the Fremont lakes had blue algae issues.
Scientist are still trying to figure out why some lakes were affected and others weren't.
The lab hopes to be testing in fields this spring, pending a permit from the Federal Aviation Administration.