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Integrated Watershed Management
Integrated Watershed Management.jpg
SOIL 515
Section: 001
Instructor: Sandra Brown
Office: MCML 229
Office Hours: By appointment
Class Schedule: Online course, plus tutorials Wed 4:30-6:00 pm
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Watershed Science

Course Overview

Watersheds are effective integrators of environmental processes; combining inherent conditions, the cumulative impacts of land use, and water management to determine the water flow and water quality conditions upon which humans and ecosystems depend.

This course presents a comprehensive overview of watershed science, and the principles of integrated watershed management. It is intended for community leaders, professionals and graduate students interested in integrated water resource management. It is offered as a combined on-campus / online learning course using an online textbook which contains the course material, and the UBC Canvas Learning Management System for class discussions, announcements and assignments, and a tutorial session for on-campus students.

The course is equivalent to a 3-credit graduate level course and students can register for UBC academic credit in SOIL 515/LWS 515. Students enrolled in the Master of Land and Water Systems program can only get credit for the LWS 515 section.

The course has the following components:

  • A multimedia textbook that can be accessed online from your desktop and most mobile platforms (iOS, Android) - see "E-Textbook" section below.
  • Course information is posted on UBC Connect, including course announcements, discussion boards, links to resources, review questions, etc.
  • Assignments will be posted on UBC Canvas.
  • Tutorial session for on-campus students; online moderated discussion sessions for off-campus students.

Course instructor:

SOIL/LWS 515 is offered in Winter Term 1.


As this is a graduate level course, a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as environmental sciences, engineering, planning, geography, forestry or biology is recommended. Students with other backgrounds such as planning, economics and policy analysis might also find the course of interest but are advised that a large part of the course consists of scientific information and descriptions using quantitative analysis techniques. Academic or professional experience related to land and water resource management is desirable.

There are no course prerequisites.

For further interest, the Watershed Management course series also offers SOIL 516 - Urban Watershed Management, SOIL 518 - Water in International Development, and SOIL 520 - Agricultural Watershed Management. Not all courses are offered each academic year.


The main readings for the SOIL/LWS 515 course are based upon the Integrated Watershed Management e-textbook. The e-textbook is designed so that it can be accessed through your web browser on your desktop and most mobile devices (iOS, Android). Access to the textbook will be emailed to registered students the first week of classes.

Assessment and Grading

Component Grading
Reports (3) 45% of final mark
Review papers (6) 45% of final mark
Course Participation (tutorial or discussion) 10% of final mark

Note: for MLWS students and students registered in SOIL/LWS 515 that are on-campus, participation marks will be based on weekly tutorial sessions (Wednesday 4:30-6:00). Participation in the tutorial is required for MLWS students. For other students registered in SOIL 515 who have a class conflict or are off-campus, participation marks will be based on online discussion sessions. Contact if you have any questions.

Reports: There are 3 reports in this course which combined cover the major components of a watershed assessment and an assessment of potential management options. These reports are project oriented, building on concepts covered in the course E-textbook and tutorial (or discussion) sessions. Due dates will be posted in Canvas.

Review papers: There are 6 short (500 word) review papers focused key topics covered in the course. These papers draw from both the course E-textbook and external literature sources. Due dates and details will be posted in Canvas.


Tutorial Discussion
On-campus SOIL/LWS 515 Off-campus SOIL 515 students (distance only version)
Weekly tutorials, Wednesdays 4:30-6:00 pm: including practical exercises, group work, concepts + Q&A, individual and group presentations online discussion sessions, topics: water science, land-water interactions, water/watershed management parallel to tutorial sessions; online only students will also do a "virtual" presentation during the term.

All assignments will be marked using the UBC grading scale. Final mark for UBC graduate credit = 3 credits.

Academic Integrity

The academic enterprise is founded on honesty, civility, and integrity. As members of this enterprise, all students are expected to know, understand, and follow the codes of conduct regarding academic integrity. At the most basic level, this means submitting only original work done by you and acknowledging all sources of information or ideas and attributing them to others as required. This also means you should not cheat, copy, or mislead others about what is your work. Violations of academic integrity (i.e., misconduct) lead to the breakdown of the academic enterprise, and therefore serious consequences arise and harsh sanctions are imposed. For example, incidences of plagiarism or cheating may result in a mark of zero on the assignment or exam and more serious consequences may apply if the matter is referred to the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline. Careful records are kept in order to monitor and prevent recurrences.