InTeGrate Modules and Courses >An Ecosystem Services Approach to Water Resources > Student Materials
InTeGrate's Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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These student materials complement the An Ecosystem Services Approach to Water Resources Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.

Student Materials

Welcome Students!

In this module, you will investigate the ecosystem services associated with local land use and its relation to water. You will be introduced to ecosystem services as a way of integrating the components of the hydrologic cycle as a system, synthesizing the interaction between the hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere, and linking those processes to the needs and aspirations of particular communities in particular places. Rezoning, annexation, and land-use changes are likely some of the most common issues that come before local governing bodies, many of these involving changes from natural areas and green space to industrial, commercial, or residential uses. You will learn to model impacts on the hydrologic cycle resulting from land-use change and how they can be reduced or eliminated. By the end of the module, students will be equipped to actively engage in the public dialogues that are typically part of the process, from the understanding and analysis of a problem to its rational and persuasive presentation.

Unit 1

The focus of this unit are the foundational tools and techniques you will need to explore the services provided by the natural landscape to humans. You will be introduced to the concept of "ecosystem services," and then, using Google Earth, you will identify land use and land-use changes that affect ecosystem services. Using rainfall-runoff data from small watersheds in Ohio, you will be introduced to the vocabulary associated with watersheds, watershed hydrology, and water balance. By comparing rainfall-runoff data from one watershed dominated by pervious surfaces (e.g., cropped farm fields, pastures and forests) with another watershed dominated by impervious surfaces (i.e., built surfaces in urban and suburban areas), you will evaluate natural and human factors that impact watershed hydrology and water balance, and generate potential provisioning and regulating services provided by natural ecosystems within watersheds.

Unit 1.1

A PowerPoint and worksheet were developed to define the concepts of ecosystems and ecosystem services, to provide background information about the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) and its categorization of ecosystem services, and to provide an example of a suite of ecosystem services provided by a landscape. Prior to class, download and work through the PowerPoint "An Introduction to Ecosystem Services"(An Introduction to Ecosystem Services (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 5.7MB Nov30 16)). Answer the questions in the accompanying worksheet (Worksheet on "An Introduction to Ecosystem Services" (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 15kB Nov30 16)), and bring your responses to class.

Unit 1.2

Prior to class, read the "Watershed Hydrology Literacy" handout (Watershed Hydrology Literacy (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.5MB Aug25 16)). This handout defines key terms and concepts associated with the hydrologic cycle, watersheds, and water balance. In class you will use rainfall-runoff data for an agricultural watershed in north-central Ohio. Your instructor may provide copies of the original data and plotted as an X-Y scatter plot. A copy is also provided here: Rainfall-Runoff Data and Plot (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 46kB Aug28 15).

Unit 1.3

The handout from Unit 1.2 (Rainfall-Runoff Data and Plot (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 46kB Aug28 15)) includes rainfall-runoff data from two watersheds in northern Ohio, an agricultural watershed, Rock Creek, which is plotted in the X-Y scatter plot, and an urban watershed, Big Creek. Prior to class, plot the rainfall-runoff data for the Big Creek watershed on the same X-Y scatter plot as the Rock Creek data.

Unit 2

In this unit you will model stormwater runoff for an area with different land covers to reflect the changes in the hydrologic cycle as land-use changes. In doing so, you will begin to recognize the ecosystem services provided by natural or pervious land covers relative to stormwater runoff, how they are impacted by land-use change, and potential solutions to mitigate the impact of land-use change on them. Once you are comfortable with the model, use it to explore the residential and natural areas with which you are familiar.

Unit 2.1

In this activity, you will use the National Stormwater Calculator, a web-based model created for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enable users to evaluate the impact of land use change on stormwater runoff. Prepare for class by reading two fact sheets. The first fact sheet, on the impact of urban development on runoff and flooding, is produced by the U.S. Geological Survey and called Effects of Urban Development on Floods. It is available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs07603/. The second fact sheet is a one-page introduction to the National Stormwater Calculator. It is available at https://www.epa.gov/water-research/national-stormwater-calculator.

Your instructor will inform you whether you will be working on this activity in a campus computer lab or on your personal computers in your normal classroom. If you need to download a copy of the National Stormwater Calculator, it is available at http://www2.epa.gov/water-research/national-stormwater-calculator. Follow the directions provided at this link.

You will begin with a short tutorial to introduce you to the National Stormwater Calculator. An electronic copy of Unit 2.1 Tutorial (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 5.6MB Dec1 16) is available here. Your instructor may have downloaded a location file for you to use with this tutorial so that you are all working from the same location with the baseline site information. If not, it is available here: Thomaston Trail Expansion.swc (ShockWave Component (SWC) 1kB Jun19 15). To download it, right-click on the link, select Save target as ..., and save the file as Thomaston Trail Expansion.swc at a location on your computer. It will be opened from within the National Stormwater Calculator as described in the tutorial. If you would like additional information the National Stormwater Calculator User's Guide Version 1.1 is available at http://nepis.epa.gov/Adobe/PDF/P100LOB2.pdf. Complete Unit 2.1 by answering questions associated with your work in the Unit 2.1 Assessment (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 16kB Sep4 16).

Unit 2.2

Once you have completed Unit 2.1 Tutorial (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 5.6MB Dec1 16), you can continue with a second tutorial, Unit 2.2 Tutorial (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 492kB Dec2 16). The purpose of this tutorial is to introduce you to the methods by which increases in stormwater runoff resulting from development can be reduced or controlled. The methods are referred to as Low Impact Development (LID) controls. Once you have completed Unit 2.2, answer questions associated with your work in the Unit 2.2 Assessment (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 21kB Sep4 16).

Unit 2.3

In this activity, you will model a past, planned, or hypothetical land-use change on your campus or in your local community or surrounding region. Your instructor will provide you with a copy of the land-use change that you will evaluate. On the basis of your work, you will create a PowerPoint presentation as described in the Unit 2.3 Assessment (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 20kB Sep4 16).

Unit 3

In this unit, you will explore the broader context in which ecosystem services are often utilized and real-world proposals for land-use change typically occur. Presented with a scenario of a proposed land-use change, you will consider the entire range of ecosystem services, as well as the various groups of people (stakeholders) who benefit from those services. Organized into groups representing identified stakeholders, you will prepare a presentation describing the proposed land-use change including preferred mitigation strategies from the perspective of your stakeholder group. To conclude the module, you will complete a short written reflection on ecosystem services.

Unit 3.1

You will continue working on the example of a land-use change proposal that your instructor provided in Unit 2.3. Now, however, the discussion will be broadened beyond calculating quantitative run-off changes; you will consider a broader range of ecosystem services, as well as other ways in which a landscape has "value," some of which may not be easily measured or even conceptualized as "services." Before class, you will read a short article about the variety of ways that nature is valued, Celebrating and Shaping Nature (Acrobat (PDF) 425kB Nov30 16), and watch a short video on mind mapping Mind Mapping Video.

Classroom time will be devoted to exploring both (a) the stakeholders who have an interest in a particular place and (b) the various interests/uses those stakeholders have for a place. By the end of the activity, the class should have identified several major stakeholder groups and several distinct ecosystem services. You will then be grouped into stakeholder groups, and will be tasked to prepare a group presentation to be discussed in class on the last day of the module, that utilizes ecosystem services as much as possible (Part I of the Module Summative Assessment (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 25kB Sep4 16)).

Unit 3.2

After completing your group presentation, you will give the presentation to a panel that your instructor will convene, representing a range of stakeholder groups associated with the proposed land-use change (Part I of the Module Summative Assessment (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 25kB Sep4 16)).

To wrap up the module, you will individually complete reflective questions on the module (Part II of the Module Summative Assessment (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 23kB Sep4 16)).


     

These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »