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Watershed Academy~Job Pathways for Water and Climate Resilience

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  1. Mastering the skills and lessons of the Watershed Academy

    What is the Cycle of Getting Good Environmental Projects Done on the Ground?
  2. Getting on Board - the Paper Work: Emergency contact, Liability and Media Release, Contact Info and Coordinating Schedule
    5 Quizzes
  3. Creating and Keeping a Safe and Productive Work Environment
    2 Topics
  4. Keeping a timelog
  5. Pathways, Principles and Premises of Becoming a Water Protector
    Who is a Water Protector
  6. Job Pathways in Environmental Science and Protection
  7. Tracking your Journey
    Keeping a Journal with Field Notes
  8. What I need to take notes on+ journal prompts
  9. Scavenger Hunt
  10. Combining Traditional Ecological Knowledge with Contemporary Science for Improved Community and Water Security
    How have people traditionally used the watershed and protected community values in a changing world?
  11. How has land use in the past compare to how it's being used now in the watershed?
  12. Protecting Community Values in a Changing World
  13. What are the basic elements of understanding and assessing a watershed?
    What is a Watershed and Watershed Hydrology?
  14. Geology & soil conditions in the watershed
  15. Observe and Assess- Reading the Landscape
  16. Watershed & Ecological Restoration Practices
    Best Practices for Improving Watershed Management
  17. Restoring streams
  18. Erosion Control
  19. Vegetation and Aquatic Ecology in the Watershed
  20. Telling the Story of Your Watershed Academy Experience
    Why it's important to share what we find
  21. How to create a community presentation on what I learned
  22. Learning From the Past
    How to Interview an Elder
  23. Resources and Interview Prompts
  24. Become a Leader
    Community organizing for improved watershed health
  25. How to build a strong team
Lesson 15 of 25
In Progress

Observe and Assess- Reading the Landscape

September 13, 2023

Looking back, we can remember that our process for how to complete a project involves observing and assessing the land:

  1. Read the Landscape and the Room: Observe complex natural systems and the relationships in the area. Remember that people are part of a place and the system includes the human relationships and traditions too.
  2. Recognize & Utilize Regenerative Processes: Notice natural processes (water, biology, soils) where they work well and where they don’t.  Build upon existing processes such as revegetation of riparian areas or supporting river banks with erosion control structures. Think: has work been done here already? If so, did it improve the area or cause more harm?

When we are assessing  place for work we need to identify any existing issues that may be causing the landscape harm and any existing helpful structures that may be natural or man made.

Here are some harmful issues we might find at a site:

  1. Erosion- could be on the river bank, around a place of water, on a road system or on a slope.
  2. Invasive vegetation or wildlife- signs could be the plants themselves growing in the area or signs of damage from invasive wildlife
  3. Lack of vegetation- this can affect our shade ratio around streams and also affect wildlife that rely on vegetation for food or habitat.
  4. Overgrowth of vegetation- This could be a fire hazard especially during droughts and keep forests from being healthy.
  5. Poor water quality- There are many causes for poor water quality, such as nutrient runoff from farms, pollution from industries up stream, fire debris or over use. We know that it can affect fish populations and everyone who depends on the watershed.
  6. Human caused destruction- This could be illegal fire rings, trash, illegal vehicle use or poaching.

What about non-harmful or natural conditions? here are some other role-playing factors found at a site. 

  1. Damns, or human made drainage systems– These can be helpful and sometimes actually problematic.
  2. Beaver damns– Beaver damns actually keep water in an area and can change ecosystems, but they can also cause flooding.
  3. Natural cliffs or rock features- That direct or speed up water.
  4. Soil type– The type of soil found in an area can give us an indication of silt movement and help us decide what kind of methods to use.
  5. Loose soil- Made by animal habitats like gofer holes.
  6. Roads.- Roads can actually act like really helpful small drainage systems

Tools we can use to observe and assess an area include:

  • Drone footage
  • Survey123 surveying
  • Maps
  • Pictures
  • Speaking to locals and wisdom keepers
  • Cross section measurement