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Welcome to CSS
We hope you find the readings and activities we will be
completing over the next weeks in "Decision-making and Planning
Processes for Watershed Management" stimulating and rewarding!
The goal of watershed management is to make decisions and take
actions that maintain, restore or enhance a particular landscape –
a landscape that includes aquatic ecosystems -- so that a preferred
or desired condition is achieved. From an ecological viewpoint, the
desired condition is one that represents a particular set of
ecological functions and structures. From a societal
stand-point, it is one whereby management is conducted as
effectively and efficiently as possible. Attaining these conditions
likely requires some modification of current or planned land-use
activities, and choices must be made that are directly related to
the values humans have placed on that ecosystem and the
organizations managing them.
A premise of this course is that consideration of both
ecological and human values, through a process-oriented approach to
watershed analysis and planning, is key to effective decision-making
and sound management decisions.
Before you begin this course, please complete the required course survey
by pressing the Start
Here button above.
Fundamental Issues for Management include:
who decides what the desirable condition for an ecosystem is,
desirable condition for an ecosystem should be,
How and when
that condition is to be attained, and
ecological, economic, social, and cultural impacts will be
considered and mitigated, where possible.
Natural resource managers are confronted with many difficult
questions that must be addressed in such a process when a watershed
management project is undertaken, such as:
How does the
landscape work? What happened on the watershed before? What are
current conditions and trends? What is the resiliency of the
landscape to future activities and impacts?
What are the
critical issues concerning the landscape? What are the major
concerns, threats, opportunities relating to those issues?
What are the
possible and desired future conditions of the landscape?
How should we
manage the landscape? What should our management goals, objectives
and activities be to achieve these conditions, and how do we select
Once we have
implemented our management activities, how do we evaluate the
effectiveness of our management decisions, and how do we act upon
those evaluation results to implement adaptive management in
As humans continually develop an improved understanding of how
biological systems function in relation to their environment, we also
better understand how human activities are affecting those systems. In the
1990s, environmental core values were broadened to include
"sustainable patterns of resource use," reflecting not only that
humans are part of that environment, but also that their impacts on the
environment are in some cases unsustainable. Maintaining, restoring, and
in some cases enhancing ecosystem conditions, especially at a watershed
level, involve a complex human system of economic, socio-cultural and
political factors that must be considered if ecosystems are to be
effectively and successfully maintained, enhanced, or restored.
In doing so, natural resource professionals are challenged to
determine whether one condition may be more appropriate than another --
what extent is a given management approach or alternative ecologically
sound, economically viable, and socially and culturally acceptable?
Failure to consider all relevant human, organizational, and political
aspects, as well as ecological dimensions, can result in our falling short
as managers in attaining the ecological restoration goals we set for
Getting Started -- An Overview
The minimum technology requirements are fully explained in the
"Start Here" section at the top of this page. It leads you
through a required survey and a technology test which allows you to make
sure the PC you are using can properly access the course web site
is the course software the University of Idaho provides for you to submit
assignments, engage in threaded discussions, and view your progress in the
course. Within the course home page, when you see a link to Blackboard,
you can just click on that link to be connected to it. You will be asked
for your user-name and password.
In Blackboard, your user-name is your University username and
That should be pretty simple. However, since some of you are not
regular UI students, you may not be sure what your UI Username is. Not to
worry! In a separate email, I will send you your individual UI Username if
you need it -- just email me if you need me to do this.
SPEAKING OF EMAIL: It is imperative that you use the UI
vandalmail system for emailing me (www.mail.uidaho.edu), and your
UI email address; this is required of all students taking UI courses and
corresponding on UI "business." When we first started
these online classes, we were looser about this, but it's proven to be a
real problem, & I WILL NOT RESPOND to other email addresses.