Wade into your watershed - monitor stream health in the Rice Creek Watershed District

Event Date: 
Saturday, August 27, 2022 - 9:00am to Saturday, December 31, 2022 - 11:00am
Rice Creek Watershed District
A past SHEP team poses with their sampling nets

If you're looking for a rare, in-depth experience contributing to the health of your watershed without having to earn your masters degree, this is the perfect opportunity.

Since 2006, FMR has coordinated the Stream Health Evaluation Program (SHEP), in the Rice Creek Watershed District. Scientists train SHEP volunteers to evaluate stream biological health by sampling benthic macroinvertebrates,— small stream-dwelling bugs,— then studying these samples to assess stream quality. Volunteers contribute roughly 40 hours between August and December.

Preference is given to Rice Creek Watershed District residents. (Check here to see if you live in the watershed.) No experience is necessary, as training will be provided. All are welcome, however, potential volunteers should seriously consider the tasks (see accessibility notes below) and hours involved before committing to the SHEP program.

You can read more about the project on our SHEP project page and find out what it's like to be a volunteer with this exciting, unique program.


Volunteers will spend time wading in streams, which will involve wearing waders, climbing down streambanks, and walking in deep water across uneven streambeds. The lab portion of the program will involve using microscopes to identify macroinvertebrates. Volunteers are encouraged to attend and participate in whatever activities they are comfortable with.

Ready to register?

If you are interested in joining SHEP, please contact FMR Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Sophie Downey at sdowney@fmr.org, 651-222-2193 x27. Please include your name, address, phone number and any questions you may have.

What about COVID-19?

We're watching the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines closely. If plans change based on their recommendations, FMR Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator Sophie Downey will be in touch with updates. (Be sure to add sdowney@fmr.org to your contacts so updates don't land in spam.) And we'll update this page if anything changes. (You can read more about our policies here.)

We have adapted SHEP during the pandemic, and we will remain flexible to ensure the safety of our volunteers.

We will offer gloves and hand sanitizer throughout the program. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own masks and wear them when in close proximity to others.

Thank you to our partners: 3M Foundation, BNSF Foundation, Bolton & Menk, Rice Creek Watershed District and Xcel Energy.