Environmental Management and Policy (EMP) Practicum

The EMP Practicum is a new program being organized by Drs. Characklis and Crawford-Brown for the purpose of providing a new approach to educating students with interests in both the technical and policy related aspects of environmental management. The program involves a cohort of 6-8 masters students that will take a team-based approach to addressing a problem of environmental significance. Each student will engage in the rigorous exploration of a technical or policy related issue, assisted by an individual faculty member with relevant expertise, with these investigations being integrated into an overarching framework intended to provide insight into various policy approaches.

The EMP cohort matriculating in Fall 2005 will be developing a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limit for a watershed in the Research Triangle area (Northeast Creek) that has been listed as biologically impaired as a result of elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria. Individual students will work on projects related to (a) identifying and characterizing nonpoint sources (e.g., stormwater runoff); (b) identifying and characterizing point sources (e.g., wastewater treatment plant); (c) modeling microbial fate and transport; (d) estimating microbial inactivation via drinking water treatment, and; (e) modeling human exposure and health risk. Students will also have an opportunity to be a part of field and laboratory experiments related to assessing water quality in the Northeast Creek watershed. Concurrent with the exploration of their individual research topics, the group will work collectively to devise policies for regulating and mitigating microbial contamination in the affected watershed with attention to the economic (i.e. costs and benefits) as well as the social implications of various strategies.

Coordination between the participating students will be facilitated by common office space and the Environmental Management and Policy Colloquium (ENVR 200.007) a course that will involve a series of seminars and discussions related directly to the practicum. Invited speakers will include faculty researchers, consultants, utility personnel, citizen groups and state regulators, providing students with an understanding of the range of perspectives that must be considered when developing environmental policy. The group’s final product will be a comprehensive report addressing the a range of approaches for developing a TMDL for Northeast Creek, with the results presented (in both oral and written form) to the North Carolina Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources.

Participating Students

    Ms. Robin Bolte (M.S.)

    Ms. Amanda Burns (M.S.)

    Mr. Tim Healy (M.S.)

    Mr. Josh Hunn (M.S.)

    Mr. Eric Kelly (M.S.)

    Ms. Preethi Sama (M.S.)


Practicum Project Presentation (PDF)

Download EMP Practicum brochure (PDF)