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Watershed Geology Lab




River Hydrology, Assessment, and Monitoring - 4 credits
GEOL 460/460L

Offered Spring--------------------CRN_xxxxxxxx
Prerequisite(s): GEOL 260/260L and GEOL 360/360L or equivalent coursework


last updated 1/25/17

Instructor: dosmith@CSUMB.edu,
Office Hours: By appointment
Office: Rm. E207, Science Center (Bldg. 53)
Ph: (831) 582-4696

Lecture/Lab/Fieldtrips: Friday 9:00-2:50
Room 236, Bldg. 53

Required Texts:
1) Environmental Hydrology, 2004, A.Ward and S.W.Trimble, CRC-Lewis Press Boca Raton,Fl, 475pp.
2 ) Stream Channel Reference Sites (Harrrelson et al., 1994)

Supplemental Sources of Readings, Lectures, and Practical Excercises:
California Rivers & Streams: The Conflict Between Fluvial Process and Land use (Jeffrey Mount, 1995)
Stream Corridor Restoration (Federal Interagency Stream Restoration Working Group)
Water in Environmental Planning (Dunne & Leopold)
Applied River Morphology (Rosgen, 1996)
Applied Fluvial Geomorphology (Thorne et al., 1997)
Limitations and implications of stream classification (Juracek, K.E., and Fitzpatrick F.A., 2003)
Various case studies of river restoration projects
Various governmental sources of hydrologic data
Miscellaneous U.S.G.S. publications and other scientific journal articles

Other Course Materials: Sturdy shoes/boots, 2H/3H pencil (mechanical or wood), eraser, small "Rite-in-the-rain" field notebook, calculator, clipboard, small daypack, water bottle, warm clothes, rain gear.


The simple process of water flowing over or under the surface of the earth is central to human culture. We daily rely upon a supply of fresh water for a multitude of reasons including drinking, bathing, agriculture, energy, and industry. However, as populations grow, both the local quantity and quality of fresh water typically diminishes. In some regions water supply or quality is now becoming the limiting factor in municipal growth. From an environmental perspective, diminished water quality and quantity strongly influence the physical habitat, biodiversity, and aesthetics associated with aquatic and riparian zones of rivers.

Our role in "River Hydrology Assessment and Monitoring" is to understand the hydrologic cycle and the interplay of water and rivers well enough to improve our management of water resources. Sustainable human development will rely upon improved relations among human culture, the water cycle, and the rivers that carry the resource.

In this field-intensive course, we will cover the theory, measurement, and analysis of many of the traditional topics in hydrology including precipitation, rainfall-runoff, groundwater, streamflow duration, flood frequency and the local water budget. However, we will also learn about the physical description, measurement, and assessment of rivers. The combination of those topics provides the overarching theme of understanding the human impacts on rivers well enough to develop resource management strategies and policies leading toward sustainable development.

Upon completion of the course you will gain a technical and quantitative understanding of many parts of the hydrologic cycle, and the ability to survey and interpret the physical attributes of streams. All homework assignments are due at the beginning of class one week from the assignment date. There is a required weekend fieldtrip.