Sewanee Headwaters Initiative




Morgans Steep

The Sewanee Headwaters Initiative (SHI) serves to improve our ecological understanding of headwater systems and promote purpose-driven management and stewardship that benefit present and future communities.‌‌




Sewanee’s position atop four HUC 12 watersheds offers unique opportunities for research and stewardship, and our aquatic systems provide valuable avenues to investigate climatic and anthropogenic effects at multiple scales. A thorough ecological understanding of these headwater systems is essential for informed management that benefits human and other biological communities of the region and those downstream, in addition to contributing valuable insights on global issues like climate change. The Sewanee Headwaters Initiative was developed to support projects that will assist local communities in better understanding our aquatic systems and to help secure a healthy future for all affected--because what happens here matters elsewhere.



Research Opportunities

All University of the South faculty conducting research consistent with the goals of the Sewanee Headwaters Initiative are eligible to apply for funding of up $5,000 per fiscal year by submitting a proposal and itemized budget via the grant application. These collaborative partnerships will serve to strengthen the relationship between the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability and faculty, as well as provide opportunities for students to engage in meaningful research on local aquatic systems. Investigations focused on general water quality, climatic effects, ecosystem services, and public education/outreach will be given priority—particularly those promoting community ownership of science by connecting scientifically-derived insights with readily identifiable community needs. However, all water-related projects with a focus in the watersheds surrounding Sewanee (see HUC 12 map below) are eligible for funding.



Watersheds Included in SHI


For questions or more information please contact SHI Research Coordinator Kevin Fouts