Course code:



M - Intermediate

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • QR - Quantitative Reasoning
  • ES - Environmental Science

Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Every other year

In this course students will learn the basic field and quantitative methods used to characterize watersheds. The course will focus mainly on watersheds of Mt Desert Island and some of the larger rivers in Maine and will build upon foundational concepts in Earth Science. The course will feature field, lab, and lecture components. Students will conduct geomorphic mapping (field and GIS), surveying, stream discharge measurements, pebble counts, and other common tools and methods to conduct a term-long field study of multiple island watersheds. Upon returning from the field, students will use their data to calculate flows and sediment loads associated with less frequent flood events. Large magnitude flow events tend to shape steam channels and have implications for human infrastructure and intertidal zone dynamics. Students will be evaluated based on weekly assignments, quizzes, presentations, and the term-long project. Students will work in teams to complete a basin-wide study of one of the island watersheds of interest to community partners for long-term monitoring. The field project will culminate in a written report and presentation. They will work on their project report throughout the term with opportunities for peer review and revision.


Introductory GIS. It is strongly recommended that students have taken high school math courses (algebra and geometry), at least one introductory Earth Science course, and are comfortable using Excel.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.