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Welcome to the Department of Watershed Sciences


The Department of Watershed Sciences offers comprehensive educational opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students in the hydrologic and ecological sciences pertaining to watersheds.

Our faculty provide expertise in all aspects of the hydrologic cycle, in the conservation, restoration and management of aquatic ecosystems, and in the remote sensing and geographic analysis of the earth's landcovers.

Graduates of our programs become teachers and researchers at major universities, scientists and managers for natural resource agencies, and professionals with consulting and non-profit environmental firms.

Welcome to WATS!

Dr. Patrick Belmont

Dr. Patrick Belmont, Department Head

The Department of Watershed Sciences is a powerhouse in the science of ‘wet’ ecosystems, including rivers, lakes, wetlands, reservoirs, and the watersheds that feed them. And we are deeply committed to making that science useful for wise planning, management, and restoration. We are well positioned to study and solve complex, interdisciplinary problems with our cadre of ecologists, hydrologists, geomorphologists, biogeochemists and others.

As one of the most productive research entities at Utah State University, we are engaged in a wide variety of fundamental and applied projects. Our research spans some of the most remote and wildest parts of the world to densely populated urban areas. While much of our research is focused on specific watershed systems, we are informing policy and management at the scale of some of the largest and most charismatic resources in the world, including the Mississippi, Columbia, and Colorado rivers, the Mekong Delta, and the Great Barrier Reef. Some of the big questions that cut across our research groups include:

How do climate, geomorphology, biogeochemistry and hydrology interact to influence biodiversity and species interactions at different spatial scales?

How is global climate and environmental change manifesting at regional and local scales? What are the implications for water availability, aquatic biodiversity and species interactions, water quality, and recreation?

How have humans modified water, sediment and nutrient dynamics? How do specific policy and management practices affect ecosystem health and resilience?

How can we most effectively and sustainably restore the structure and function of lake, wetland, stream and riverscape ecosystems?

We have a very supportive and inclusive culture in the Department. Diversity enhances our research, teaching, and outreach contributions by infusing our community with a variety of ways to understand the world, identify challenges, and deliver solutions. We welcome opportunities to engage with traditional knowledge and we continually strive to provide a safe environment that is open to all.

Logan, Utah is situated at the foot of the picturesque and easily accessible Bear River Mountain Range, just across from the rugged Wellsville Mountains, about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City. Logan is consistently ranked among the safest small cities in America and outstanding recreational opportunities abound in the nearby mountains. We are also just a few hours away from the red rock country of southern Utah, the wild Uinta and Wind River ranges, the Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone. And the view out the window reminds us daily of our charge to better understand and conserve our natural resources.

Thank you for your interest in our department. Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our faculty or staff if you have any questions.

Patrick Belmont

Professor and Department Head

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