Since 2006, Friends of the Mississippi River has coordinated the Stream Health Evaluation Program (SHEP) in the Rice Creek Watershed District. SHEP uses trained volunteers to evaluate the biological health of streams by sampling benthic macroinvertebrates, small stream-dwelling bugs.
Each year, we need 30 volunteers who work in three teams of 10. Preference is given to Rice Creek Watershed District residents. No experience is necessary, as training will be provided. All are welcome, however, potential volunteers should seriously consider the tasks and hours involved before committing to the SHEP program.
The SHEP program includes training led by professional scientists. The first, mandatory training will be in early August. In September and early October, SHEP teams will monitor reaches of local streams and lakes. From late October to November, teams will identify collected macroinvertebrates in the lab, and finally, scientists review the SHEPers’ work and submit a final report to the Rice Creek Watershed District, MPCA, and others regarding the data and what it indicates for local water quality.
Overall, SHEPers should expect to spend 40 hours on SHEP between training, stream collections, lab time, and the analysis and results celebration.
You can read more about the project on our SHEP project page ( https://fmr.org/projects/shep), or email Sophie Downey (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more and sign up for the 2022 season.