River systems are under ever increasing pressure through the growing demands of water abstraction and hydroelectric power generation, and suffer recurrent disturbance through diffuse and point source pollutants, drought, flooding and channel modification.
The environmental management of rivers is required to mitigate the effects of these pressures. This requires a holistic understanding of how river systems are structured and function, and of how these systems have been altered by anthropogenic activities. To this end, the course will examine the interactions between climate, hydrology, geomorphology, ecology, biogeochemical cycling, water and habitat quality and biodiversity. An important aspect of the training will be an understanding of how these interactions act at different spatial and temporal scales to influence the structure and function of ecosystems in running waters. This scientific and technical corpus will allow you to understand and quantify the consequences of natural and anthropogenic disturbance on river systems.
Using a combination of lectures, fieldwork, tutorials, laboratory classes, group projects and an individual research-based thesis, you will be provided with the necessary training and skills for a career in the successful environmental management of rivers, including techniques on assessing their status and approaches to rehabilitate and restore the condition of these globally threatened environments.
You will also gain training in legislation that drives the environmental management of rivers worldwide. In particular the EU Water Framework Directive provided an exceptionally strong driver in that all European member states were required draw up river basin management plans to achieve 'good ecological status' by 2015. This is certain to create many career opportunities in the future. This degree will provide direct postgraduate training for students interested in this career direction, as well as providing advanced-level training suitable for further PhD studies in water science.