Watersheds: Preparing Students for the Future

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by Freeman M. Smith,
John D. Stednick,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Watershed Management and Operations Management 2000:

Abstract: Colorado State University continues to maintain the only undergraduate major in Watershed Science since its inception over four decades ago. As the flagship of Watershed Science, CSU has granted over 400 BS, 350 MS, and 100 PhD degrees. Of these, over 70 were granted to international graduate students, Theses and dissertations reflect the evolution of watershed science from the early historical proof of concept studies, through the era of hydrologic processes and modeling, and continue to reflect the science and management underlying current problems - from water quality and snow physics to watershed policy and watershed forums. Undergraduate curricula and graduate programs have changed in concert with the evolving understanding of watershed processes and watershed problems, The most important responsibility of watershed education for the future is to balance the emphasis on the hinterlands/source areas of watersheds with more comprehensive curricula and programs that integrate all land uses, from hog farms and cities, to the human dimension and participatory watershed management. Future undergraduate curricula should include courses in agricultural hydrology, environmental health, hydrogeology, political science, sociology, and water resources. Future watershed research at CSU should emphasize the understanding of watershed processes that operate at hierarchal spatial scales and at the interfaces of land uses which alter the quality of water and the hydrologic behavior of watersheds . Watershed management at CSU should emphasize preparing field-based professionals who can contribute to problem-oriented solutions at local and regional watershed levels from both the technical and the social perspectives.

Subject Headings: Watersheds | Students | Water quality | Hydrologic models | Curricula | Undergraduate study | Land use | Model analysis | Water policy | North America | United States | Mississippi

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