348-6 Incorporating Watershed Studies into the Gustavus Environmental Studies Program

Thursday, 9 October 2008: 9:40 AM
George R. Brown Convention Center, 342CF
Mark Bjelland1, Jeff Jeremiason1, Joel Carlin1, Laura Triplett1 and Kathryn Ladig2, (1)Environmental Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College, St Peter, MN
(2)Dept. of Geology, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN
Gustavus Adolphus College recently began incorporation of water quality and watershed assessment as an intentional scientific thread running through the Environmental Studies (ES) Program. A local, agriculture-intensive watershed, the 7-Mile Creek watershed was chosen as the model watershed. This watershed is ideal due to its proximate location, multiple local partners, and a large amount of historic data. The strategy developed involves hands-on data collection and assessment in multiple class within and outside the ES program, database development, interdisciplinary research projects, and a watershed assessment project in a senior capstone class in the ES major.

Data collected to date includes chemical, biological, spatial and temporal data. Various water quality parameters have been measured in 7-Mile Creek, connected ground water, and in intermittent feeder streams. Species diversity data has been collected at various locations in the watershed. Geographic data has been compiled by Gustavus students and our various local partners often with assistance from Gustavus students.

Classes impacted within the ES major are Introduction to Environmental Studies, Water Resources, Geomorphology, and Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies. Other classes outside the major including Environmental Chemistry, Geographic Information Systems, Aquatic Biology, and Hydrogeology have also been impacted. Within the ES major students are introduced to field collection techniques, flow monitoring and other automated techniques, ground water/surface water interactions, GIS analysis, and flux calculations. Ultimately, in the Senior Seminar class, students conduct an overall assessment of the watershed drawing on data collected in other classes and by our partners.