National Research Program | Shingobee Headwaters Aquatic Ecosystems Project (SHAEP)

The Shingobee River Headwaters Region, North-Central Minnesota

Watershed-scale research from a scientifically panoramic perspective

What is SHAEP?

Map of Minnesota showing location of SHAEP site. The Shingobee Headwaters Aquatic Ecosystems Project (SHAEP) brings together scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, and students and professors from universities in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and California for a unique and cooperative study opportunity. This diverse group of scientists conducts research on physical, chemical, and biological processes of lakes, wetlands, and streams and investigates interfaces (air-water, air-land, land-water) on local and watershed scales. Scientists who might not normally work together learn from each other's approaches and develop new ideas for collaborative research. Each highly specialized study adds to a collective body of information that leads to a better understanding of the processes that occur in and adjacent to lakes, wetlands, and streams. By focusing on the interfaces of these multiple scientific disciplines, SHAEP hopes to provide a broader scientific perspective than could be achieved without such a cooperative integration. The Shingobee River Fact Sheet provides more detailed information about the site location and specific research goals.

Interdisciplinary research is not a new idea, but it was rarely accomplished in 1989 when this study began. The prospect was so novel that this effort initially was known as the Interdisciplinary Research Initiative, or IRI. IRI was changed to SHAEP to better reflect the site location and the overarching goals of the research conducted there.

Brief History of the Project

USGS scientist doing field work in a stream at the SHAEP site. In 1987 a group of scientists from the National Research Program of the Water Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey met to discuss the state of watershed science. The committee agreed that proper management of our Nation's water resources required knowledge of how atmospheric water, surface water, and ground water function as integrated systems. It was obvious that an interdisciplinary approach to studying lakes and watersheds was needed. The committee decided to focus initially on lakes, because lakes are a natural integrator of hydrologic processes. Rather than focus these efforts on one lake, with the hope that the information learned about this lake would transfer to other lakes the committee decided to select a paired-lake site, where two nearby lakes would have greatly different water and chemical residence times. By studying two lakes, and comparing the results, they would be able to determine which processes were important to both lakes, and which were unique to one or the other lake.

A nationwide search resulted in the selection of the upper Shingobee River watershed located in north-central Minnesota. This watershed offered two lakes that had greatly different hydrologic settings even though they were close to each other. Several different types of wetlands offered a broad scope of wetlands research, and the headwaters of the Shingobee River presented a great opportunity for in-stream and riparian-corridor-scale research. Research to date has focused on Williams Lake and Shingobee Lake, as well as on processes occurring along the Shingobee River and within a nearby fen.

Shingobee Field Station

Amenities include:

  • Wireless access to internet
  • Two bedrooms for visiting scientists
  • Kitchen, laundry, storage
  • Direct access to Shingobee Lake
  • 3-season meeting room
  • Boat available to those with USGS motorboat-safety training
  • Assistance from Dallas Hudson can be arranged
  • Field station located on south shore of Shingobee Lake

    Field station located on south shore of Shingobee Lake

  • View of access to Shingobee Lake

    View of access to Shingobee Lake

  • Convenient accommodations for visiting scientists (bedroom)

    Convenient accommodations for visiting scientists

  • Convenient accommodations for visiting scientists (living area)

    Convenient accommodations for visiting scientists

News Archive

You can access our news archive to see historical information.