Water Classes

Courses from the USU General Catalog that contribute to the integrative water sciences.



Integrative Water Science Courses

  • Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (CEE, PSC, WATS 5003/6003):  Basic principles of radiation and remote sensing. Techniques for ground-based measurements of reflected and emitted radiation, as well as ancillary data collection to support airborne and satellite remote sensing studies in agriculture, geography, and hydrology.
  • Large River Management (WATS 6330):  Focuses on constituencies participating in modern management of large river basins, including water developers, irrigators, municipalities, power consumers, recreationists, environmentalists, and scientists. Primary examples drawn from Colorado, Columbia, Rio Grande, and Missouri river basins.
  • Water Quality and Pollution (WATS 6530):  Reviews biological and social problems caused by point and nonpoint source water pollution; toxicology; abiotic and biotic water quality parameters; and use criteria of the Clean Water Act. Graduate-level class will require additional readings of the peer-reviewed literature and an additional class meeting to have in-depth discussions of those readings. Each graduate student will be responsible for making a presentation at the beginning of class, and leading the discussion.
  • Geographic Information Systems in Water Resources (CEE 6440):  Principles and operation of geographic information systems. Spatial hydrologic modeling done by developing a digital representation of the environment in the GIS, then adding functions simulating hydrologic processes. Includes term project on use of GIS in water resources.
  • Integrated River Basin/Watershed Planning and Management (CEE 6490):  Reviews fundamental building blocks of water resource institutions, emphasizing creation of institutions which are sensitive to a particular culture, economic, and political environment. Addresses institutional mission and regulatory roles, public participation, property and water rights, and elements of production.
  • Water Law and Policy in the United States (ENVS 6320):  Introduction to policies, laws, institutions, and practices guiding western water allocation, emphasizing how to efficiently and equitably allocate increasingly scarce supplies. Explores reserved water rights, water markets, stream adjudication, public trust doctrine, basinwide management, and riparian management.
  • Environmental Biophysics (PSC 6820):  Explores connections between biosphere and atmosphere at many scales. Introduces processes governing exchanges of mass and energy between surface and atmosphere, as well as connections to climate. Examines role of the biota at local to global scales.
  • Natural Systems Modeling (CEE 6720):  Provides hands-on approach to utilizing several of the most commonly applied modeling tools employed to estimate physical, chemical, and biological impacts of existing and proposed water resource systems. Focuses on utility and limitation of specific modeling approaches, while also stressing integrative multi-disciplinary nature of impact assessment frameworks.
  • Terrestrial Subsurface Processes I and II (HASS 6250):  A two course graduate introduction to the physical, chemical and biological processes that occur in the uppermost part of the earth's crust in terrestrial environments. Topics in course I include subsurface architecture, deformational processes, surficial processes, and chemical processes. The pedagogical goal is a unified treatment that provides as much technical breadth and depth as possible with emphasis on a common vocabulary.
  • Wetland Ecology and Management (WATS 4310/6310):  Explores the physical, chemical, and biological structure of wetlands. Focuses on the major types of wetlands found in North America, as well as their ecology and management; U.S. wetland policy and mitigation; and regional, national, and global impacts on restoration of wetlands.



Instruction and Research Seminar Series



Physical Science of Water Courses

  • Fluvial Geomorphology (WATS, GEO 5150/6150):  Focuses on physical processes in streams that control their shape, plan form, slope, bed material, and distribution of channel bars. Emphasizes field analysis of these topics, and application of geomorphology to aquatic ecology and environmental restoration.
  • Physical Hydrology (CEE 6400):  Fundamentals of hydrologic cycle and hydrologic processes. Precipitation, infiltration, runoff generation, evaporation and transpiration, and snowmelt. Representation of hydrologic processes in hydrologic models.
  • Small Watershed Hydrology (WATS 5490):  Detailed exploration of concepts of hydrologic processes in small, wildland watersheds. Concentrates on recent research findings concerning examining key hydrological processes. Particular attention paid to study of partitioning of water in the hydrologic cycle, sources for runoff generation, snow and snowmelt, and erosion. Features process modeling and parameter estimation techniques as related to wildland systems.
  • Groundwater Engineering (CEE 6430):  Explores fundamentals of groundwater hydrology by focusing on theory related to aquifer systems and flow analysis, regional groundwater balance, well hydraulics, aquifer testing, capture zone analysis, unsaturated flow, saltwater intrusion, and basics of flow modeling.
  • Groundwater Geology (GEO 5510):  Fundamental principles of groundwater geology and hydrology, and helps prepare them for careers in hydrogeology or environmental geology.
  • Open Channel Hydraulics with an Emphasis on Gradually Varied Flow (CEE 6500):  Theory and applications of steady uniform and gradually varied flow under both subcritical and supercritical flow conditions. Solutions to multiple-network canal systems by solving systems of combined ordinary differential and algebraic equations. Method for defining natural channel systems and solving steady-state flows in them.
  • Paleoclimatology (WATS, GEO, PSC 5680/6680):  Driving forces behind climate changes. Examines data and methods used in paleoclimate research. Includes discussion of literature and stresses local paleoclimate records. Three lectures per week, along with field trips.



Chemical Science of Water Courses

  • Aquatic Chemistry (CEE, PSC 5620):  Provides students with understanding of principles of aquatic chemistry, emphasizing chemical equilibria, acid-base reactions, complex formation, oxidation-reduction reactions, complex formation, and dissolution chemistry.
  • Geochemistry (GEO 5600):  Application of thermodynamics, solution chemistry, phase diagrams, and both radioactive and stable isotopes to the understanding of earth processes.
  • Environmental Chemistry of Inorganic Contaminants (CEE 6600):  Inorganics of environmental concern discussed in terms of processes affecting their behavior in soil and water systems. Explores remediation of environmental systems contaminated with inorganic pollutants.
  • Environmental Quality Analysis (CEE 6610):  Familiarizes students with various methods used for analysis of chemical parameters in environmental samples (water, soil, and air). Provides students with skills enabling them to make proper selection/evaluation of analytical procedure and evaluate data generated.



Biological/Ecological Science of Water Courses

  • Fish Ecology (WATS 6230/7230):  Reviews current literature on physiological, behavioral, population, and the community ecology of fishes. Particular emphasis placed on current literature relevant to management of sport and endangered freshwater species.
  • Stream Ecology (WATS 6820/7820):  Explores structure, function, and dynamics of flowing water ecosystems.
  • Riparian Ecology and Management (WATS 7640):  Explores structure and function of riparian ecosystems and management options for maintaining sustainable ecological function.



Social/Economic/Political Science of Water Courses

  • Introduction to Natural Resource Economics (APEC 6500):  Introduction to the legal and regulatory foundations of natural resource policy, with specific attention to water, minerals, rangelands, forests, fish, and off-site impacts of agricultural and industrial production. Topics include externalities, property rights, public goods, public choice, and public trust.
  • Introduction to Environmental Economics (APEC 6510):  Introduction to the foundations of environmental economics. Adaptation of market mechanisms to ameliorate pollution problems and provide amenity services. Methods for determining the value of nonmarketed goods and services. Topics include economic principles regarding social choice and market exchange, as well as current and historical issues involving pollution, environmental regulation, and the effects of environmental regulation on the profitability of private and public entities.
  • Theoretical Foundations in Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science and Management (ENVS 6000):  Overview of interdisciplinary theories and frameworks concerning how human societies affect, and are affected by, ecosystem processes at local, regional, and global scales. Focuses on systems theory, social and environmental sustainability, and scientific integration for ecosystem planning, policy, and management.
  • Conflict Management in Natural Resources (ENVS, SOC 5640/6640):  Introduction to conflict management techniques for those involved in natural resource management.
  • Research Approaches in Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science and Management:(ENVS 6700/7700).  Experience conceptualizing and prioritizing research problems involving human societies and ecosystems. Reviews approaches for creating and testing interdisciplinary hypotheses pertaining to human-ecosystem interactions. Explores methods for integrating social and biophysical data.
  • Environment, Technology and Social Change (SOC 6620):  Focuses on human interactions with the physical environment and changes brought about by this interaction. Topics of major emphasis include: approaches to environmental sociology; environmental values and attitudes; social movements pertaining to environmental concern; and social change responses to technology and resource scarcity.
  • Natural Resources and Social Development (SOC 6630):  Focuses on social dimensions of natural resources use, development, scarcity, and allocations. Examines ways in which changing resource conditions impact human social organization. Emphasis on topics including: social characteristics of resource-dependent communities and areas; social organizational responses to changes in availability of, or access to, natural resources; and social impacts of natural resource development activities.