Coastal Watersheds: Science, Law and Policy

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
TUE, THU 10:30 - 11:45 am JON 5.202

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


This course fosters an integrated understanding of the science, law and policy relating to issues such as land use, water use, and climate change in coupled watershed-coastal ocean systems. The course is interdisciplinary and listed in both the Law School and the Department of Marine Science. There are three major course components: (1) topical lectures, (2) literature discussions, and (3) case studies. The literature discussions allow us to delve into specific topics in detail, whereas the case studies foster a system-level understanding of select sites around the country. Students work on the case studies in small, interdisciplinary groups. The case studies will be selected from distinct region of the US subject to different climate regimes, land/water use patterns, and oceanographic conditions. Factors influencing the quantity and quality of water exported from land, and oceanographic characteristics that mediate the response of coastal ecosystems to changes in watershed export are emphasized. Law, management, planning and policy initiatives related to issues of water quality, water quantity and sustainability of coupled watershed-coastal ocean systems are also emphasized. Groups give a formal presentation on their case study findings near the end of the semester. Students also write independent papers or proposals focusing on specific research, mitigation, education efforts, or legal or regulatory changes needed to improve understanding and management of their case study systems. The last week of class focuses on cross-site comparisons and discussion of idealized management scenarios that draw from the most effective aspects of individual case studies. Classes are offered over a video link so that students at the Marine Science Institute as well as Austin can participate.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

No materials required


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