Environmental Planning

Fall Term, 1995
Dr. Craig Caupp

Catalog Description

2206.472, Principles and methods used in environmental assessments and site analysis. Students will prepare an environmental impact statement, site development plan, or mine reclamation plan.

Expanded Description

Environmental Planning is a broad topic encompassing landscape planning, water resource management, airshed planning, land use planning, wildlife refuge planning, solid waste management, health planning and more. Environmental planning requires a knowledge of planning issues and objectives, analytical and writing skills, and practice in integrating different viewpoints and disciplines, collecting information, analyzing and interpreting results, and the presentation of that information. Environmental planning is usually done by an interdisciplainary team working together. Group projects will be done to practice group dynamics and share different viewpoints. A successful environmental planner uses a variety of skills and techniques: writing, math, graphics, computer, word processing, spreadsheet use, mapping, GIS, and geographic and oral presentation. No one is going to have strong background in all areas necessary for comprehensive environmental planning. The objective is not to turn an urban geographer into a wildlife biologist, or a wildlife biologist into a computer scientist, but provide enough background so the tools can be used and different disciplines can communicate with each other. The student should expect some frustration when dealing with new areas, when many in the class will already have a strong background in the topic.


  1. To introduce environmental planning, expose students to the complexity of issues and competing values involved in planning.
  2. To discuss ethics involved in working with different value sets, public, individual, community, ecosystem, and endangered species.
  3. To practice analytical skills and problem solving.

Course Objectives

  1. To understand why environmental planning is necessary.
  2. To obtain knowledge of the content of the following aspects of environmental planning:
  3. To learn what environment indicators are and how they are used and measured (DO, pH, vegetation, soils, etc).
  4. To obtain knowledge of the sources of environmental data.
  5. To Obtain experience in collecting environmental data.
  6. To Obtain experience with techniques of environmental analysis, such as maps, computer programs, overlays, matrices, checklists, and GIS.
  7. To obtain experience in environmental analysis by collecting data and preparing environmental planning documents.
  8. To learn and practice skills necessary for achieving planning objective of finding the optimal use of resources. Experiment with several tools of planning, EIS, computer models, simulations, overlays, GIS.


"Ecology Impact Assessment, and Environmental Planning", Walter Westman, Wiley Interscience. Assigned readings in addition to the text will be made in handouts on planning, wetlands, soils, etc. and in reserve material in the library.


The exams include questions from your text readings, lecture notes, and lab exercises. Types of questions include multiple choice, matching, fill-in-blank, short answer essay, and design problems. Three exams will be given. The third exam will be given during the scheduled final exam period. Make-up exams will be given only if the student is ill or a personal emergency occurs and the absence is reported to the instructor prior to the examination period and supported by proper written documentation. Grades -- determined by total points accumulated:

Exam 1 100 A = 450 or more
Exam 2 100 B = 400 to 449
Final 100 C = 350 to 399
Projects 200 D = 300 to 349
Total Points 500 F = 299 and below

Student Projects

Student reports are an important aspect of this course. Students will work on four projects as shown on the course outline. Projects will require a written report done on the word processor. Two of the projects require a spreadsheet analysis. These projects require written reports, graphs (generated by spreadsheet) and printed copy of spreadsheet. The total number of project points will include grades from the four projects, grades from computer/math assignments and pop quizzes. Students are required to use the computer. There will be scheduled computer help sessions.

Study Hints

Students will be required to read the course material before class discussion/lectures and before beginning on the projects. Two field trips are scheduled that will require missing other classes and/or a Saturday outing, please note the schedule of these dates. It is your responsibility to notify other instructors if you will be missing there classes. Learning is not a passive activity, if you do not want to read the material before hand and put lots of time in on the projects now is the time to drop this class. Time must spent outside of class working on the computer exercises. Unannounced quires and problem sets are possible at any time.

Attendance Policy

Attendance will not be taken. Students assume responsibility for information and handouts missed due to absence.

Office: DH 314 (ext. 4755) Hours MF 1:00 -2:00, W 9:00am -10:00am, TR 11:00 am-noon, and F 11:00am to 12:00. I have an open door office policy, stop by with your questions at any time.

Academic Dishonesty is defined to include giving or receiving aid on exams, any form of cheating, or plagiarism. Students found guilty of academic dishonesty will receive an automatic course grade of "F" and will be referred to the Campus Judicial System. For a discussion of Academic Dishonesty refer to statement in the Student Handbook.

Tentative Outline for Geography 472

1.  Introduction (Chapter 1 and Chapter 2)
    a.   Environmental Planning
    b.   Objectives
    c.   Ecological Planning
    d.   Driving Forces
    e.   The McHarg Approach
      i. Identification
      ii.  Mapping
      iii. Evaluation
      iv.  Overlay
      v. Structure and Function, Role in Ecosystem
    f.   Analytical tools
    g.   The Connection Between Analysis and Planning
    h.   The Complexity of Planning Issues
    i.   Planning Ecological Goals vs. Public Goals
    j.   Sustainable Development

2.  Evaluation Methods
    a.   Economic Approaches (Chapter 5)
    b.   Ecosystem Basis (Structure and Function)
    c.   Energy Flow
    d.   Environmental Units

3.  Wetlands (Chapter 8 Structure and Function of Biological Communities)
    a.   Wetland Values
    b.   Definition
    c.   Hydrology
    d.   Water Balance
    e.   Soils
    f.   Soil surveys
    g.   Plants
    h.   Regulations
    i.   Field Trip to Finzel Sept 20, Leave at 6:00 PM.  Field Trip Write Up.
    j.   Wetland Types 
4.  Environmental Impact Statement  (Chapter 2 and Chapter 4)
    a.   NEPA
    b.   Public Input
    c.   Means of Organizing Planning
    d.   Contents of an Environmental Impact Statement
    e.   Obtain EIS
5.  Test Oct 4
6.  Environmental Math (Section of Chapter 7)
    a.   Importance of Calculus (rate of change in dynamic systems)
    b.   Use of Calculators
    c.   Use of Spreadsheets
    d.   Exponential Growth and Decay
    e.   Population Projections
    f.   Computer Lab
7.  Water Resources Planning (Chapter 2 and Chapter 7)
    a.   Impacts on the Environment
      i. Oxygen
      ii.  Temperature
      iii. Nutrients
      iv.  Toxins
      v. Biomagnification
    b.   Workings of Waste Treatment Plant
    c.   Water Treatment Plant
    d.   D.O. Model Streeter-Phelps 
      i. Model
      ii.  Computer Lab
      iii. Computer Lab
      iv.  Field Trip to Westerport Treatment Plant Oct 16 leave at 8:00 am Field Trip Write Up.
      v. Project: Impact of BOD load using Streeter-Phelps model. Develoop graphs showing impacts of different loads and flows on the Potomac. Write a report on water quality management.
    e.   Nonpoint Pollution
    f.   Floods
    g.   Impacts on Humans
8.  Ecotoxicology (Chapter 9)
9.  Air Resource Planning (Chapter 2 and Chapter 7)
    a.   Impacts
      i. Human Health
      ii.  Materials
      iii. Ecosystems
         (1)    toxins
         (2)    nutrients
    b.   Regulations
    c.   Watershed Comparrison
    d.   Use of Gausian Plume
    e.   Project: Impact of incineration of municipal wastes, graphs, reports, risk assessment, recommendations.
    f.   Computer Lab
    g.   Computer Lab
    h.   Video on Impacts
10. Solid Waste Management
11. Test Nov 10
12. Group Project (Feasibility Study or EIS)
13. Report: critical Review of an EIS
14. Land use Planning (Chapter 2 and Chapter 6)
    a.   Sensitive Areas
    b.   Critical Areas
    c.   Zoning
    d.   Species and Landscape Diversity (Chapter 11)
    e.   Succession and Resilience of Ecosystems (Chapter 12)
    f.   Transportation
    g.   Impacts
      i. Human patterns
      ii.  Wildlife
      iii. Hydrology
      iv.  Air
    h.   Overlays (McHarg)
    i.   Soil Surveys
    j.   GIS, GPS
    k.   Computer Lab
    l.   Computer Lab
15. Feasibility Study, EIS (Chapter 3 and Chapter 4)
    a.   Ranking Techniques
    b.   Lumping Techniques
    c.   Risk Assessment1,Sep 6,8,Introduction, 

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Send Comments to Craig Caupp ccaupp@frostburg.edu

Last Modified March 30, 1996