Field Methods in Hydrology

Site characterization: surveying, channel and floodplain mapping, land use, electronic data acquisition. Techniques for measuring surface and subsurface hydrological processes: water flow, hydrologic conductivity, precipitation, evaporation. Sampling techniques: surface water, groundwater, and soil pore water  sampling. In-situ monitoring: automatic samplers, dataloggers, water quality sondes. Laboratory analyses: GLP practices, selection of analytical method, calibration, QA/QC. Pre: Graduate standing. (2H,3L, 3C).

Credit hours: 3

Instructor: Durelle Scott,

Learning objectives: Students completing this course successfully will be able to:

  • Measure stream velocity and discharge, travel time, stream/hyporheic exchange, bankfull stage, hydrologic return intervals
  • Measure stream and land slopes, areas; determine land cover
  • Work safely in various field environments
  • Develop and implement a quality assurance plan to insure collection of quality data
  • Select, install, and operate hydrologic equipment and sensors (samplers, flow measurement systems, data sondes, meteorological equipment, soil moisture)
  • Conduct basic laboratory analytical analyses (total suspended solids, dissolved and particulate nutrients, bacteria, total suspended sediment)
  • Identify and deal with statistical outliers
  • Interpret existing and measured data to characterize stream/watershed/aquatic system
  • Plan and conduct a hydrologic and water quality field study
  • Evaluate and critique hydrologic studies from published literature
  • Create and demonstrate a standard operating procedure for measuring a specific hydrologic process by adapting an existing hydrologic technique

Expectations: Throughout the course, you’ll be expected to perform the assigned readings prior to class. Your participation in class discussions is strongly encouraged (and is part of your grade). Participation and attendance is mandatory; please consult with me > 1 week should a conflict arise. The integrity of your work is of the upmost importance – please see the section on the honor code. In the field, I expect that you come prepared, work safely and diligently, and listen to and respect your peers to promote an active and constructive dialogue / learning environment.

Graduate students:  Students enrolled in the graduate level (5224G) will build on their undergraduate learning by developing critical analysis capabilities for graduate research. Graduate students will develop their ability to critically examine and synthesize new data by analyzing existing literature through literature critiques. Graduate students will also demonstrate their ability to adapt and share a field technique by (1) developing a standard operating procedure (SOP) of a hydrologic field technique, and (2) teaching the technique to the class (each presentation will include the theory, a simplified description of the approach, and finally an example of how the results are used in practice).

Prerequisites: Graduate standing; BSE 3305 or CEE 3314 or FOR 4354

Gear: Waders for stream work helpful. Nº 550F Environmental 4 3/4 in x 7 1/2 in Rite in the Rain field notebook, required. One package of 3×5 index cards.