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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

David R Montgomery
ESS 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Class description

Rivers of Puget Sound have been changing since their origins at deglaciation more than 10,000 years ago. For most of this time, native cultures in the Puget Sound area have had a relationship with the rivers and the salmon and other key species that inhabit them. Patterns of the river system influence patterns of human settlement patterns and distribution of species. Increasingly after European colonization, human actions changed river systems in ways that influenced rivers and ecological systems. This course examines the physical and ecological evolution of Puget Sound rivers, and their more recent historical changes and the associated impacts on human societies and key species. Specific topics to be covered include: (1) the geologic origins, geomorphic and hydrologic processes, and the ecosystems and resources associated with rivers and estuaries of Puget Sound; (2) methods for detecting and evaluating environmental change; (3) the nature and extent of anthropogenic changes to rivers; (4) the changing relationship between rivers, people, and resources (such as salmon); (5) historical context of resource management and restoration, including how Native American treaty rights influence resource management and restoration issues in Puget Sound rivers; and (6) the potential impacts of population growth and climate change.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Eight of the ten weekly meetings will consist of lectures, guest lectures, and exercises based on case studies from rivers in Puget Sound; class will generally meet for the first two hours of the scheduled time. Two weekly meetings will consist of field exercises; on those days class will meet for the scheduled three hours. There will be one full-day weekend field trip on April 17.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by David R Montgomery
Date: 02/19/2010