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WMPP Course Descriptions

Introduction to Watershed Management

Watershed management focuses on interdisciplinary approach to issues within watersheds, with economic, legal, policy, and community development issues contributing as much to solutions as biology, engineering, hydrology and chemistry. An effective watershed manager must understand the science behind water resources management and have skills in public relations, policy-making, and program evaluation.This course is intended to provide the student with an overview of these various disciplines. Faculty from the Watershed Management Professional Program with expertise in these disciplines will assist in conducting the course.

Instructor(s): Dr. Peter Paquet, Ph.D.

Water Resources Policy and Administration

Reviews the history, policies, institutions, science, economics, and politics involved in understanding and managing water resources in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the West.  Examines policy history leading to the present institutional and legal arrangements for the administration and regulation of water uses, water rights, water development, and water quality, at the federal, state, regional, tribal and local levels.  Examines the evolution and interweaving of purposes in water resource policies and administration, including economic development, anti-speculation, privatization, human health protection, fish and wildlife mitigation, ecosystem health, ecosystem services and more, exploring recent efforts to integrate these distinct issues through "watershed" approaches to land and water management. A major theme is the problem of developing and implementing coherent water policies in a policy arena which has divided authority, plural traditions, and multiple resource and social issues. The class concludes with a particular focus on the Willamette River Basin, in which it is possible to find nearly all of the major issues in water resources policy and administration.

Instructor(s): Dr. John Shurts, Ph.D. and/or Dr. Jennifer Allen, Ph.D.

The Columbia Watershed: A Case Study in Multijurisdictional Planning

Since 2000, several important events occurred in the Columbia River Watershed with reference to landscape level watershed based planning. These include efforts involving the Endangered Species Act, the Northwest Power Act, Native American Treaties, International Treaties and State and Local laws and regulations. It has resulted in a series of products such as Biological Opinions, Subbasin Plans, Recovery Plans, Salmon Accords, Habitat Conservation Plans and more. Many have been and continue to be subject to litigation adding further to the already complicated mix of issues.

This course will provide an in-depth look at these multiple efforts and provide a framework for examining their potential for success. We will examine the biological, social and legal issues that have been raised since 2000, and their implications for the development of successful recovery for the listed species. The course will use a combination of lectures, case studies and selected readings with a specific focus on the interaction of science and public policy.

Instructor(s): Dr. Peter Paquet, Ph.D.

John Day River Field Course

This 3-day field course will be conducted on the Middle Fork of the John Day River in eastern Oregon. It will focus on providing a survey of watershed assessment techniques and strategies employed in this basin and on stream protection and enhancement methods currently underway in the watershed. We will look at the upper 40 miles of the river where we will study examples of methods being implemented by a variety of entities including the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Forest Service and private landowners.

These examples will be examined in the context of their overall integration into the larger watershed at both the biological and sociological level. To provide a template for evaluation we will use the assessment framework developed for the John Day Subbasin Plan. ( We will focus on a multi-species approach, with an emphasis on habitats rather than populations. Special emphasis will be given to examining the biological and physical changes (natural and human caused) that have occurred over the past 150 years and their relationship to the current and future ecological, social and economic potential of the watershed.

Instructor(s): Dr. Peter Paquet, Ph.D.

Managing Protected Areas

This course will focus on the concept of “protected areas,” using the following three case studies to illustrate different models and approaches: the City of Portland Watershed Plan, The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program. Students will critically examine “The Watershed Approach” as an appropriate conceptual and practical approach to balancing the competing ecological, economic, social and policy factors involved in natural resource management. In addition, students will compare and contrast the different approaches used in each of the three case studies to develop an understanding of how the unique characteristics of a given area shape the management and governance structure. The course will be primarily field oriented, with a half day in the classroom and two days in the field in the Portland area and the Columbia River Gorge.

This course is available for three undergraduate credits (PA 410) or three graduate credits (PA 510) through the Hatfield Summer Institute.  It is not available as a non-credit professional develpment course.

Instructor(s): Dr. Peter Paquet, Ph.D. and Claire Puchy, Science, Fish and Wildlife Group Coordinator, City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services