Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

Office in the Natural and Environmental Sciences Building, Room B205
(970) 491-5589
Professor John C. Moore, Department Head
WCNR_ESS_info@Mail.ColoState.edu

warnercnr.colostate.edu/ess-home

The Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability currently offers a B.S. in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, a B.S. in Watershed Science, a minor in Watershed Science, an M.S. in Watershed Science, and a Master of Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting program.

Graduate Programs in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

The department offers graduate programs leading to a Master of Science in Watershed Science or a Master of Science in Greenhouse Gas Management and Accounting. Students interested in graduate work should refer to the Graduate and Professional Bulletin and website for the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability.

Master Programs

Subjects in this department include: Ecosystem Science and Sustainability (ESS) and Watershed Science (WR).

Ecosystem Science and Sustainability (ESS) 

ESS 130  System Theory and Information Management  Credit: 1 (0-2-0)

Course Description: Applying computers, networks, software applications, and the internet for managing information in ecosystem science and sustainability.
Prerequisite: AGRI 140 or BUS 150 or CS 110.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 210  Physical Geography  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Also Offered As: GR 210.
Course Description: Energy, mass budget, and human impacts on atmosphere, hydrosphere, and continental land surfaces.
Prerequisite: None.
Registration Information: Credit not allowed for both ESS 210 and GR 210.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 211  Foundations in Ecosystem Science  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Course Description: Linkage between society and ecosystems services as foundation for sustainability of the coupled human-environmental system.
Prerequisite: GR 210 or ESS 210.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 220  Research Skills for Ecosystem Science I  Credit: 1 (0-0-1)

Course Description: Fundamental skills for participating in ecosystem science research through hands-on learning modules.
Prerequisite: None.
Registration Information: Written consent of instructor.
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 221  Research Methods for Ecosystem Science II  Credit: 1 (0-0-1)

Course Description: Advanced topics in the practice of the scientific method and participation in research.
Prerequisite: ESS 220.
Registration Information: Written consent of instructor.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 298  Research  Credits: Var[1-3] (0-0-0)

Course Description: Directed ecosystem science research.
Prerequisite: ESS 221, may be taken concurrently.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 311  Ecosystem Ecology  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Course Description: Principles of ecosystems ecology, emphasis on their application to coupled natural and human systems.
Prerequisite: ESS 211.
Registration Information: Required field trips.
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 330  Quantitative Reasoning for Ecosystem Science  Credits: 3 (2-2-0)

Course Description: Understanding diverse approaches for using data and models to understand complex ecological systems.
Prerequisite: (ESS 211 or LIFE 320) and (MATH 155 or MATH 160) and (STAT 301 or STAT 307 or STAT 315).
Registration Information: Junior or senior standing.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 400  Sustainability and Ecosystem Science  Credits: 3 (2-0-1)

Course Description: Integrates ecosystems services and sustainability strategies, application to coupled natural and human systems.
Prerequisite: ESS 311 and ESS 330.
Registration Information: Must register for lecture and recitation.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: Yes.

ESS 411  Earth Systems Ecology  Credits: 3 (2-2-0)

Course Description: Earth as a system, stressing ecological interactions among energy, water, and biogeochemistry.
Prerequisite: ESS 311.
Registration Information: Must register for lecture and laboratory.
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 440  Practicing Sustainability  Credits: 4 (2-0-2)

Course Description: Capstone integration of ecosystem science and sustainability, focused on case studies.
Prerequisite: ESS 311 and ESS 330.
Registration Information: Senior standing in WCNR. Must register for lecture and recitation.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: Yes.

ESS 486  Ecosystem Practicum  Credits: 2 (0-0-2)

Course Description: One-week field practicum to examine ecosystem science and sustainability issues in Colorado landscapes.
Prerequisite: ESS 211 and NR 220.
Registration Information: Senior standing. Required field trips.
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 487  Internship  Credits: Var[1-6] (0-0-0)

Course Description: Supervised work experience in professional settings related to Ecosystem Science and Sustainability.
Prerequisite: None.
Registration Information: Written consent of instructor.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: S/U Sat/Unsat Only.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 495  Independent Study in Ecosystem Science  Credits: Var[1-6] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 501  Principles of Ecosystem Sustainability  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Course Description: Principles of ecosystem sustainability and threats to sustainability. Students will investigate and develop case studies.
Prerequisite: BZ 300 to 499 or ECOL 300 to 499 or CHEM 300 to 499.
Registration Information: Admission to graduate school. Sections may be offered: Online.
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 524  Foundations for Carbon/Greenhouse Gas Mgmt  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Course Description: Foundations for understanding greenhouse gas emissions management and accounting.
Prerequisite: BZ 300 to 499 or ECOL 300 to 499 or CHEM 300 to 499.
Registration Information: Sections may be offered: Online.
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 542  Greenhouse Gas Policies  Credits: 2 (0-0-2)

Course Description: Rules, regulations and standards for greenhouse gas management and accounting.
Prerequisite: ESS 524.
Registration Information: Graduate standing. Sections may be offered: Online.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 543  Current Topics in Climate Change  Credits: 2 (2-0-0)

Also Offered As: ATS 543.
Course Description: Climate fundamentals and current topics in climate change.
Prerequisite: BZ 300 to 499 or ECOL 300 to 499 or LIFE 300 to 499 or CHEM 300 to 499.
Registration Information: Credit not allowed for both ESS 543 and ATS 543.<Sections may be offered: Online.br>
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Mode: S/U Sat/Unsat Only.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 545  Applications in Greenhouse Gas Inventories  Credits: 4 (2-6-0)

Course Description: Overview of methods for estimating greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation potential for agriculture and forestry activities.
Prerequisite: ESS 524.
Registration Information: Must register for lecture and laboratory. Required field trips.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 565  Niche Models  Credits: 4 (3-2-0)

Course Description: Concepts and application of niche models in ecosystem science.
Prerequisite: (BSPM 526 or BZ 526 or BZ 535 or BZ 548 or BZ 561 or ECOL 505 or ECOL 600 or ECOL 610 or ECOL 620 or FW 555 or FW 662) and (STAT 511).
Registration Information: STAT 511 or written consent of instructor. Must register for lecture and laboratory.
Term Offered: Fall (even years).
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 575  Models for Ecological Data  Credits: 4 (3-2-0)

Course Description: Gaining insight about the operation of ecological processes using models and data.
Prerequisite: MATH 255 and STAT 340.
Registration Information: Must register for lecture and laboratory.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 587  Internship  Credits: Var[1-6] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 625  Ecology of Forest Production  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Also Offered As: F 625.
Course Description: Develops student expertise in understanding carbon and nutrient flows in forests.
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Registration Information: Must have taken a 300-level course in ECOL. Credit not allowed for both ESS 625 and F 625. Sections may be offered: Online.
Term Offered: Spring (even years).
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 655  Multivariate Analysis for Community Ecology  Credits: 2 (2-0-0)

Course Description: Techniques and conceptual understanding for analyzing multivariate ecological data characteristic of community ecology, including ordination, classification, and permanova.
Prerequisite: (STAT 511) and (BZ 500 to 679 - at least 3 credits or ECOL 500 to 679 - at least 3 credits or ESS 500 to 679 - at least 3 credits or FW 500 to 679 - at least 3 credits).
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Term Offered: Fall (even years).
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 660  Biogeochemical Cycling in Ecosystems  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Course Description: Biotic and abiotic processes responsible for distribution and fluxes of elements at ecosystem, landscape, and global scales.
Prerequisite: CHEM 245 and SOCR 240 and ECOL 300 to 699.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 692  Seminar  Credit: 1 (0-0-1)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate.
Registration Information: Sections may be offered: Online.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 695  Independent Study in Ecosystem Science  Credits: Var[1-6] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 698  Research  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Registration Information: Written consent of advisor.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: S/U Sat/Unsat Only.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 699  Thesis  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Registration Information: Written consent of advisor.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: S/U Sat/Unsat Only.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 798  Research  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Professional.
Registration Information: Written consent of advisor.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: S/U Sat/Unsat Only.
Special Course Fee: No.

ESS 799  Dissertation  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Professional.
Registration Information: Written consent of advisor.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: S/U Sat/Unsat Only.
Special Course Fee: No.

Watershed Science (WR) 

WR 304  Sustainable Watersheds  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Also Offered As: GR 304.
Course Description: Effects of climate, land use, and water use on the sustainability of water quantity and quality.
Prerequisite: None.
Registration Information: Completion of the AUCC 1B Mathematics requirement. Credit not allowed for both WR 304 and GR 304.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.
Additional Information: Biological & Physical Sciences 3A.

WR 406  Seasonal Snow Environments  Credits: 3 (2-3-0)

Course Description: Evaluation of the physical environment; characteristics of snow; methods of studying snow; snow safety.
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Junior, Senior, Senior - 5yr Bachelor, Senior - Post Bachelor, Senior - Second Bachelor.
Registration Information: Junior or senior standing. Must register for lecture and laboratory. Required field trips.
Term Offered: Spring (odd years).
Grade Modes: S/U within Student Option, Trad within Student Option.
Special Course Fee: Yes.

WR 416  Land Use Hydrology  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Course Description: Fundamental concepts in hydrology and effects of land use on hydrologic processes.
Prerequisite: (GEOL 120 or GEOL 122 or GEOL 124 or GEOL 150 or SOCR 240) and (CIVE 202 or STAT 201 or STAT 301 or STAT 307 or STAT 315) and (PH 110 or PH 121 or PH 141).
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Modes: S/U within Student Option, Trad within Student Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 417  Watershed Measurements  Credits: 3 (2-3-0)

Course Description: Instrument and field techniques in watershed science. Project design and data analysis.
Prerequisite: None.
Registration Information: Must have concurrent registration in WR 416. Must register for lecture and laboratory. Required field trips.
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Modes: S/U within Student Option, Trad within Student Option.
Special Course Fee: Yes.

WR 418  Land Use and Water Quality  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Course Description: Physical, chemical, biological water quality parameters affecting land use; land management to maintain water quality; water quality standards, legislation.
Prerequisite: None.
Registration Information: CHEM 103; CHEM 104 or CHEM 107; CHEM 108 or CHEM 111; CHEM 112.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Modes: S/U within Student Option, Trad within Student Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 419  Water Quality Laboratory for Wildland Managers  Credits: 2 (0-4-0)

Course Description: Sampling and determination of water quality parameters.
Prerequisite: None.
Registration Information: Must have concurrent registration in WR 418.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Modes: S/U within Student Option, Trad within Student Option.
Special Course Fee: Yes.

WR 440  Watershed Problem Analysis  Credits: 3 (2-2-0)

Course Description: Capstone integration of spatial watershed issues, focused on problem solving in watershed science.
Prerequisite: (NR 322 or NR 319) and (WR 416 and WR 418).
Registration Information: Must register for lecture and laboratory.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Modes: S/U within Student Option, Trad within Student Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 465  Eolian and Fluvial Transport Processes  Credits: 4 (3-3-0)

Course Description: Fundamental physical principles of eolian and fluvial transport processes.
Prerequisite: PH 141.
Registration Information: Must register for lecture and laboratory.
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Modes: S/U within Student Option, Trad within Student Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 474  Snow Hydrology  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Course Description: Snowfall, accumulation, distribution, physical processes in the snowpack, energy balance, ablation and runoff, measurement methods, runoff forecasting.
Prerequisite: None.
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 486  Watershed Field Practicum  Credits: 2 (0-6-0)

Course Description: Field visits to watershed management projects and sites of significant field studies.
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Junior.
Registration Information: Junior standing. Required field trips.
Term Offered: Fall.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 487  Internship  Credits: Var[1-6] (0-0-0)

Course Description: Supervised work experience in professional settings related to Watershed Science.
Prerequisite: None.
Registration Information: Written consent of instructor.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: S/U Sat/Unsat Only.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 492  Seminar  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 495  Independent Study-Watershed Resources  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 510  Watershed Management in Developing Countries  Credits: 2 (2-0-0)

Course Description: Watershed management problems, approaches, and solutions in developing countries.
Prerequisite: CIVE 322 or ENVE 322 or WR 416.
Term Offered: Spring (odd years).
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 511  Water Resource Development  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Course Description: Basic principles of water resource management including surface and subsurface flows.
Prerequisite: None.
Registration Information: Graduate standing. Offered as an online course only. Written consent of instructor.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 512  Water Law for Non-Lawyers  Credits: 3 (0-0-3)

Course Description: Basics of water law and policy for Colorado, western states, and the U.S.
Prerequisite: None.
Registration Information: Graduate standing. Written consent of instructor. Sections may be offered: Online.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 516  Cumulative Effects and Watershed Analysis  Credits: 3 (2-0-1)

Course Description: Definition, causal processes, and modeling of cumulative watershed effects; comparison and evaluation of current watershed analysis procedures.
Prerequisite: WR 416 and WR 417.
Registration Information: Must register for lecture and recitation.
Term Offered: Spring (odd years).
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 520  Evapotranspiration  Credits: 2 (2-0-0)

Course Description: Theory, estimation, measurement, simulation, and application of evapotranspiration processes in hydrology.
Prerequisite: PH 122.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Modes: S/U within Student Option, Trad within Student Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 524  Modeling Watershed Hydrology  Credits: 3 (2-2-0)

Also Offered As: CIVE 524.
Course Description: Development and application of watershed models: structure, calibration, evaluation, sensitivity analysis, simulation.
Prerequisite: (CIVE 322 or ENVE 322 or WR 416) and (STAT 301 or STAT 315 or CIVE 202) and (MATH 141 or MATH 155 or MATH 160).
Registration Information: Must register for lecture and laboratory. Credit not allowed for both WR 524 and CIVE 524.
Term Offered: Spring (odd years).
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 574  Advanced Snow Hydrology  Credits: 4 (3-0-1)

Course Description: Snow processes in hydrologic cycle; physical and conceptual methods of modeling; techniques for measuring different states and change rates.
Prerequisite: CIVE 322 or ENVE 322 or WR 416.
Registration Information: Must register for lecture and recitation.
Term Offered: Fall (even years).
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 575  Snow Hydrology Field Methods  Credit: 1 (0-2-0)

Course Description: Field course offering hands-on experience in snow hydrology.
Prerequisite: None.
Registration Information: Enrollment in a graduate program. Required field trips.
Term Offered: Spring.
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 616  Hillslope Hydrology and Runoff Processes  Credits: 3 (1-0-2)

Course Description: Hillslope hydrology and runoff processes in different environments; implications for management and modeling.
Prerequisite: CIVE 322 or ENVE 322 or WR 416.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Registration Information: Must register for lecture and recitation.
Term Offered: Spring (even years).
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 674  Data Issues in Hydrology  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Course Description: Types of data, data sources, data quality, missing data, spatial data, data usage, sensitivity in models, error, presentation of data and results.
Prerequisite: WR 574.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Term Offered: Spring (even years).
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 692  Seminar  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 695  Independent Study  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 696  Group Study  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 698  Research  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 699  Thesis  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 712  Watershed Systems  Credits: 3 (2-2-0)

Course Description: Dynamic simulation of watershed behavior; application and evaluation of current hydrologic models.
Prerequisite: (WR 416 or CIVE 322 or ENVE 322) and (STAT 340).
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Registration Information: Must register for lecture and laboratory.
Term Offered: Fall (even years).
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 714  Water Quality for Wildland Managers  Credits: 3 (3-0-0)

Course Description: Sampling, statistics of sampling, concepts of ionic equilibrium, water quality modeling, instream flow requirements.
Prerequisite: WR 418.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Term Offered: Fall (even years).
Grade Mode: Traditional.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 798  Research  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.

WR 799  Dissertation  Credits: Var[1-18] (0-0-0)

Course Description:
Prerequisite: None.
Restriction: Must be a: Graduate, Professional.
Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer.
Grade Mode: Instructor Option.
Special Course Fee: No.