Water, Aquatic Ecology, and Land-Water Linkages

This course is intended to provide students with an understanding of water that will inform their professional approaches to landscape architecture, architecture, and planning, and contribute to protecting, improving, restoring, and sustaining water resources. Lectures, class discussions, hands-on exercises, and a weekend field trip will cover (1) general characteristics of water on Earth, (2) aquatic ecology, and (3) land-water interactions, emphasizing hydrology and water quality, with particular reference to human activities affecting water resources, and to water-sensitive design. Topics are covered from local to continental scales and are illustrated with examples and case studies from around the world. Part 1: Background information and broad overview of water on Earth (Colburn). Part 2: Aquatic ecosystems and ecosystem services (Colburn). A broad overview of the characteristics and biota of flowing waters, lakes and ponds, temporary waters, floodplains, wetlands, and nearshore coastal waters. Emphasis on ecosystem structure and function as related to services provided to human societies, ecological effects of urbanization and other human land alterations, and pertinent design concepts and approaches. Part 3: Land-water interactions (Colburn and Dekker). Lectures and exercises in hydrology, geomorphology, and water quality, especially in relation to urbanization and design. Best-management practices, low-impact design (LID), runoff and groundwater-flow estimation, and case studies in stormwater management and urban stream restoration. Part 4: Scale, legal and regulatory considerations, restoration opportunities, and the design team; special topics (Colburn, Dekker, student presentations). Evaluation: Based on class attendance and participation, short (2-page) written assignments, quizzes, and individual project. Prerequisites: None.