Graduate Induction Course - WATS 6260

The Department of Watershed Sciences runs an introductory course for all its incoming graduate students immediately prior to each Fall semester. The course is an intense, five day introduction to the fundamental concepts of Watershed Science, as well as the people (faculty, staff and existing students) who make up the Department of Watershed Science and the techniques they use in their research. The course will typically begin with two to three days exploring the Logan River Watershed with field activities scattered about everywhere from its source in the Bear River Range to its mouth in the wetlands of Cutler Reservoir. During this introduction to the Logan River Watershed, students will meet most of the WATS faculty as they lead students on short field exercises that highlights some mix of fundamental research questions and/or some of the cutting edge tools and technologies we use in WATS to address those questions. The course will then typically shift focus to some of the even more dramatic landscapes within a half-day’s drive of Logan (e.g. Grand Tetons). l In this part of the course, we discuss broader-scale geologic and regional controls on the landscape, and work on interpreting landforms and understanding their organization in the landscape. The course is residential and involves a mix of camping and rustic accommodation in cabins. Students should be prepared for moderately strenuous outdoor activity, including hiking, wading in streams, and white-water rafting. No previous experience is necessary and field and recreational gear is provided.

Course Objectives

The general objectives of the course are to help incoming graduate students get acquainted with the nearby landscape, the people in the Department of Watershed Sciences, some of the broader concepts and questions that define Watershed Science, and some of the techniques that USU faculty use to answer those questions. A sampling of the techniques demonstrated: topographic data acquisition (with terrestrial laser scanning rtkGPS, and total stations), collection of aerial photography using drone aircraft, field mapping, rapid assessment surveys, soil evaluation, collection and analysis of climatic data, fish sampling (electrofishing, snorkel surveys, mobile-antennae PIT tags), macroinvertebrate sampling, water quality monitoring, large-scale landscape interpretation, and hydrography (e.g. with ADCP).