Watershed characterization and management is a relatively new, holistic approach that is currently being used nationally to address water quality issues. The aim of the watershed approach is to prevent pollution, achieve and sustain environmental improvements, and meet other goals of the community.
The Geographic Information System (GIS) is central to the watershed approach and is the tool that is employed to assimilate, analyze, and present the plethora of data that is collected. Since this data is collected by professionals from a variety of disciplines, e.g., engineers, geologists, hydrologists, biologists, chemists, political and social scientists, it is imperative that the well-trained GIS technician have a fundamental understanding of the role that each of the disciplines employed play in the overall watershed process.
Students that complete the Environmental Science certificate will be able to conduct watershed investigations on small watersheds and assist as a team member in watershed characterization on larger, more complex systems.