has been involved in research in a range of topics along the interface between engineering and freshwater aquatic ecology since the early 1980s. He is presently a self-employed consultant, and previously worked as a research hydraulic engineer at the National Sedimentation Laboratory of the US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (1990-2012). Dr. Shields is an adjunct professor at the University of Mississippi. Dr. Shields' interests include stream corridor habitat rehabilitation in incising streams, role of woody debris in fluvial systems, riverine backwater rehabilitation, environmental design criteria for river engineering, and the influence of vegetation on sedimentation and erosion.
He worked for ten years in the Environmental Laboratory of the US Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, spent two years with the Nashville District of the US Corps of Engineers, and taught engineering at Tennessee State University for two years. During the late 1980s, he conducted studies of the effects of woody vegetation on Sacramento River revetments and levees. He has also designed and directed construction of five stream-restoration projects targeted at aquatic habitat rehabilitation.
Additional work includes the effect of dams on channel migration, hyporheic retention in sand-bed streams, and water quality in agricultural landscapes. Dr. Shields has also served as a consultant to the California Levee Vegetation Research Program since 2009. He was a contributor to the document "Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes, and Practices", jointly published in 1998 by 14 federal agencies, and has authored or co-authored more than 300 technical publications. Currently he is a contributing author to a national large wood manual sponsored by the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Corps of Engineers.
He earned his MS degree in environmental and water resources engineering from Vanderbilt University (1977) and a PhD in hydraulic engineering from Colorado State University (1987). Dr. Shields is registered as a professional engineer in Mississippi. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and has contributed to several documents that provide guidance for restoration planning and design, including the book River Channel Restoration (John Wiley and Sons, 1996), the USDA-NCRS Stream Restoration Design Guide (2008), and ASCE Manual 110 (2008.