ENVR 200 - Environmental Management and Policy Colloquium

This course is designed primarily for students participating in the Environmental Management and Policy practicum, with the objective of introducing participating students to a range of tools and methods useful in their research.  Through a series of seminars and discussion groups, the students will have an opportunity to talk with faculty, environmental professionals (e.g., consultants), utility managers and regulatory personnel as they gain a broader understanding of the range of analytical approaches available for addressing interdisciplinary challenges.

The current practicum project involves the establishment of a total maximum daily load (TMDL) limit for microbial contamination of an impaired water body, and the subsequent development of a watershed restoration plan.  Models of microbial fate and transport through the watershed, including identification of the type of organism, source (point vs. nonpoint) and form (free vs. particle-associated).  These transport models then allow for links to be made between the costs and effectiveness of mitigating actions (e.g, detention basins) and the benefits that accrue in terms of reduced human exposure and health risk.

A comprehensive exploration of the scientific and policy-related aspects of watershed restoration requires incorporating technical tools, such as GIS-based water quality models (e.g., QUAL, SWAT), with quantitative economic analyses of the net benefits resulting from various policy choices.  Throughout this course students will have an opportunity to experiment with a wide range of modeling methodologies, with experts providing guidance on the strengths and weaknesses of each.