BSU receives donation of Shingobee Headwaters research site and equipment

The U.S. Geological Survey has been studying wetlands and streams near Akeley as part of the Shingobee Headwaters Aquatic Ecosystems Project for the last 43 years, and now, Bemidji State University will lead the project after the entire infrastructure was donated to the university.

The donation included multiple land-, soil- and water-based field stations, boats, outboard motors, a canoe and tools to monitor this environment.

“This donation is great for students because hands-on work is more exciting than classroom work,” Dr. Miriam Rios-Sanchez, associate professor of geology, said.

“You can take students to different monitoring stations where different types of data are being acquired.”

The Shingobee Headwaters project was launched in 1987 in response to extreme drought in Minnesota.

The Shingobee site was considered a “grass roots” project and never fully integrated into a formal USGS program.

BSU has access to the 40 years of data taken at the various stations that can be used for further research.

“We can also develop educational opportunities for other colleges and communities, and carry out research projects related to water resources, climate change and ecosystems,” Rios-Sanchez said.

Shingobee Lake is considered a lake of “particular resilience,” with limited public access and only four property owners.

Additionally, the lake’s groundwater discharge – the movement of groundwater from the subsurface to the surface – is naturally insulating which has protected the lake from the effects of climate change.

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