Anyone who's ever popped open a cold beer probably has good reason to be concerned about water quality. The folks at MillerCoors certainly share this awareness, which is why they have partnered with the River Network, a national organization partnering with water conservation groups, to offer $50,000 toward watershed protection programs nationwide. Eight projects have been selected as finalists and the sponsors now put it to the public to decide which efforts get the funding.

The proposed projects range from E. coli elimination to outreach and education and rely on agricultural methods to promote clean water practices, such as fertilizer management (which can help minimize the Gulf of Mexico's Dead Zone), prevention of soil erosion through native plants, or appropriate placement of certain crops that affect bacteria levels in nearby streams. The River Network partnership made sense to the MillerCoors corporation because water is the main ingredient in beer, plus it is used to nourish the barley and hops crops that comprise the other elements of the beverage. MillerCoors, which is responsible for 30 percent of the nation's beer sales, relies on crops and water from a number of sources around the country and has a vested interest in and dedication to supporting small farms and the nearby waterways that feed their products.

To read more about the finalists and cast your vote, visit the River Network website before March 26, 2010.