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Watershed Research
The Interdisciplinary Research Initiative

Because lakes integrate many hydrologic processes that are present in their watersheds and preserve a record of past environmental change in their sediments, lake watersheds were made a focal point of a U.S. Geological Survey research effort designed to provide opportunities to conduct interdisciplinary research related to watershed hydrology. This research effort is based on the premise that lakes with long residence times are dominated by processes occurring within the lake whereas lakes with short residence times are not. Studies are centered on two lakes in Minnesota: Williams Lake, a lake with no channelized surface-water inflow or outflow and a residence time of approximately 4 years, and Shingobee Lake, a lake with a residence time of approximately 7 months that is affected by the ground-water seeps, wetlands, and beaver dams in its upper watershed as well as by interaction with the Shingobee River. Research on the hydrology, geochemistry, and limnology of the Williams Lake watershed began in 1978, while study of the Shingobee Lake watershed dates back to 1989. A major current research priority is concerned with studying the processes associated with the carbon budgets of the two lakes, including quantification of fluxes of carbon dioxide and methane between lake water, the atmosphere, and lake sediments, as well as quantification of consumption of methane within the lake. Substantial effort also is being directed to the study of physical, chemical, and biological interactions associated with a fen near Shingobee Lake. Other research activities at the sites include studies on the transport of nutrients in the Shingobee River, terrestrial-water interactions, paleolimnology, watershed hydrology, atmospheric chemistry, botany, geochemistry, and glacial geology. This effort has attracted scientists from around the United States; new research participants with an interdisciplinary interest are welcome.

For additional information, see The Interdisciplinary Research Initiative Home Page or contact
Thomas C. Winter or Donald O. Rosenberry
U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 25046, ms413, Denver Federal Center, Lakewood, CO
Email: or
Phone: 303-236-4987

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Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey
National Research Program || Last Updated: 02/03/2006
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