Altered Rural and Urban Landscape Restoration

Highly altered and often engineered rural, coastal, and urban landscapes are difficult and expensive to adapt to the realities of climate change.  Food production systems in rural America characterized by drainage infrastructure (tiles, ditches, dams, pipelines, irrigation units) are old and/or inefficient.  Urban centralized utility and transportation infrastructure is old and failing, vulnerable to climate change, and antithetical to restoring natural function.  Coastal areas suffer from upstream pollutants from tributary rivers and as border lands are increasingly impacted by sea level rise and catastrophic storms.  Repairing, rebuilding, and extending existing infrastructure in these landscapes is not an option if we are to sustain ourselves, anticipate and mitigate climate change, and support and restore nature.  As a later-sequence ecology course on natural processes and built environment issues in the coastal zone/nearshore environment and rural landscapes, this course complements existing GSD emphasis on introductory ecology, terrestrial systems, and freshwater wetlands.  The course focus on ecological design and management of rural and urban landscapes is highly relevant to current/future climate concerns with sea level rise, stormwater management and flooding, drought, energy infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, and food supply.

Apfelbaum brings expertise in ecological applications to achieve restoration objectives, stormwater management, and risk assessment.  Zimmerman brings expertise in assessment of and solutions to the ecological impacts of urban development from CSOs and stormwater to energy demand, groundwater, and equity issues.  Parsons brings expertise in estuarine ecosystems and biodiversity, toxics and sediment management in urban ports (including New York City, Boston, Philadelphia/Wilmington, Baltimore), ecologically-based engineered solutions to habitat loss including islands, coastal wetlands, barrier beaches, and peninsulas.

Learning Goals:
The course takes advantage of the instructors knowledge as practitioners. From people issues and conflict to dealing with conventional approaches to engineering and design, regulation, and anticipating the consequences of climate, the course will give students a real world look at how to assess existing rural and urban infrastructure and how it impacts natural systems. They will understand the principles and methods of evaluating altered systems practiced by the instructors, learn to apply them in their own work, develop natural restoration alternatives based on their evaluations, and become familiar with the issues, regulations, and obstacles to their implementation.

Course structure
– Fixed Synchronous meeting: Thursdays 10:00am-12:00pm (120 minutes). Entire class meets online
– Flexible Synchronous meeting: Either Wednesday mornings 9:00am-10:00am or afternoons 3:00pm-4:00pm (60 minutes). Focus groups, case study work, Student presentations, additional lecture material
– Asynchronous Content (as necessary based on availability – 60 minutes). Team projects, lab sections, small groups
– Preparation Time: 6 hours. Reading, writing, case studies, research

?Note: the instructor will offer live course presentations on 01/19-01/21. To access the detailed schedule and Zoom links, please visit the Live Course Presentations Website. If you need assistance, please contact Estefanía Ibáñez