Syllabus for ENVS 5400: Freshwater Policy

Below is the syllabus for my Freshwater Policy seminar, which is cross listed as both a senior/graduate reading- and writing-intensive course. It is a hybrid course, which means that the course met three times in person, and the rest of the interaction was online. Sorry for the formatting, which doesn’t seem to translate from a Word doc to this post.



ENVS 5400

Freshwater Policy

Spring 2016

Dr. Daniel Macfarlane





David Sedlak, Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource

(New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 2014)

Juliet Christian-Smith and Peter Gleick et al., A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy (New

York: Oxford University Press, 2012)

Daniel McCool, River Republic: The Fall and Rise of America’s Rivers (New York Columbia

University Press, 2012)

Peter Annin, The Great Lakes Water Wars (Washington: Island Press, 2006)

Mike Gonzalez and Marianella Yanes, The Last Drop: The Politics of Water (London: Pluto

Press, 2015)

Various other materials (e.g., articles and chapter) that will be posted to Elearning or will be

available by following a link




This course will focus primarily on federal and state freshwater policies in the United States, but we will also engage regional, local, and global water resources issues. We will examine themes such as water quantity and quality, groundwater and surface water, water law, federalism, policy formulation processes, foreign policy and environmental diplomacy, municipal water supplies, bottled water, water privatization, water and energy, etc. Engaging the fields of political science and political ecology, as well as history, law, and international relations, we will study the historical evolution of water policy and consider contemporary and future questions. Students completing ENVS 5400 will have knowledge of major freshwater policy issues and the ability to critically read, think, and write about these issues. This course is reading and writing intensive – students will read a variety of publications (e.g., books, articles, laws) and are required to complete a range of writing assignments, including a major water policy paper.




This is a hybrid course, which means that most of our interactions will be online, though we will meet in person three times (i.e., 3 seminars). You are responsible for regularly checking both this course’s Elearning site (e.g., the “News” tab on the course home page) and your WMU email for course announcements, assignment feedback and evaluation, and other direct correspondence from the instructor. There are various options that may be utilized under the “Communications” tab and you are encourage to communicate with your classmates via these forums. Please compose email and online correspondence in a respectful and appropriate manner. It is important to stay on top of things and be proactive. I am quick to respond to email, and that should be your first communication choice, but I am also happy to use other communication methods (e.g., phone, skype, Elearning Chat & Discussions).


When we meet in person, the class will take the form of a seminar (e.g., discussion, presentations, meetings, etc.). Come to the seminars prepared to talk and discuss the module readings. Strive for professionalism and courtesy during our time together. Please do not do outside homework or use electronic devices during class. Do not chat while someone has the floor. If you take issue with what someone is saying, then speak up after they have spoken. Adding your ideas to the mix is both respectful and challenging, just as a classroom setting should be. The same principles of respect and decorum apply for online interactions.


The academic policies addressing Student Rights and Responsibilities can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog at

If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s) and if you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with your instructor if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test. In addition, students are encouraged to access the Code of Honor, as well as resources and general academic policies on such issues as diversity, religious observance, and student disabilities:

You avoid plagiarism by attributing other people’s ideas, words, and data to the place where you found them. This simply means citing the author(s) by name, title, and date at the moment you use their work in your own writing, and by putting their actual words within quotation marks, or paraphrasing suitably and attributing with a reference.


You may need special arrangements to meet your academic obligations during the term because of disability, pregnancy, religious obligations, or varsity sports. Please review the course outline promptly and write to me with any requests for academic accommodation during the first two weeks of class, or as soon as possible after the need for accommodation is known to exist. Given that we have only 3 seminars during the semester, it is imperative that you attend; however, if unforeseeable serious illness and emergencies prevent your attendance, please contact me. For justifiable absences, alternative arrangements can usually be made. Late work will be penalized at a rate of 5% per day. Failure to complete all components can result in an incomplete mark. The format for all formal written assignments will be 12 pt Times New Roman font, 1.5 spacing, 1 inch margins. You may use Chicago, MLA, or APA referencing style (though if using Chicago I prefer footnotes over endnotes). Assignments will be submitted via Dropbox on Elearning.





Class Participation                   15%

Written Summaries                  35%

Book Review                         10%

Policy Paper                            40%


A         =          93%-100%

B/A     =          88%-92.9%

B         =          83%-87.9%

C/B      =          78-82.9%

C         =          70-77.9%

D/C     =          68-69.9%

D         =          60-67.9%

E          =          below 60%




Class Participation: We will be meeting 3 times during the term, once during each of the first 3 modules. During these required seminars we will discuss and debate the readings from the module, (so be sure to have the readings done and bring your written summaries since they serve as ideal discussion notes), and also undertake other activities such as meetings with the instructor and presentations. The quality and quantity of your participation will determine your mark for this component, with each seminar worth 5% out of the 15% that this component is worth.


Friday, January 22, 2016        9:00 am – 12:30 pm

Friday, February 19, 2016       12:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Friday, March 18, 2016           12:30 pm – 4:30 pm


Written Summaries: A written summary for each individual reading within a module is required – i.e., a summary for each article or each set of chapters assigned together in a module (e.g., Chapters 1-5 of Sedlak in Module 1 counts as an individual reading). Summaries of articles and single chapters should ideally be 1-2 pages (using the format described in Course Policies: 1.5 spacing, 12 pt font, etc.) and summaries for multiple chapters and books should be proportionally longer (generally speaking, more is better than less unless it is fluff). These summaries will be handed in 4 times, once for each module (see due dates in Calendar below). These summaries should be done in the style of a review essay or book review (i.e., formal prose, not bullet points or subheadings) in which the following are addressed: central argument, evidence & sources, theory & logic, key points & relevance. The instructor may also provide specific questions for a reading, which will be posted on Elearning. The summaries will be marked primarily for effort, critical thinking, and evidence of having done and understood the readings, but quality of prose will also factor in and you should therefore endeavor to write formally (furthermore, these reflections are an opportunity to practice your writing skills and receive feedback on your writing before undertaking the book review and policy paper assignments). Each summary will receive a mark out of 10, and the average of all your summaries will constitute your overall mark for this grade component (summaries of longer readings, such as books, will be worth proportionally more than shorter readings). Written summaries will be submitted via Dropbox via Elearning, and returned to you through Dropbox.


Book Review: Each student will review and present to the class a book from a list that the instructor will provide (students may suggest a book, but it must be approved by the instructor). A hint: you would be wise to review a book that you will also use for your Policy Paper. The presentations will take place at our February 19 seminar, and the written review will be due by February 26 via Dropbox. The presentations should include powerpoint slides and be approximately 10 minutes in length. The formal written review should be approximately 1,500 words in length. Both the presentation and written review should summarize and critique the book’s main points, approach, evidence, findings, quality, etc. Your presentation will be worth 25% of your Book Review mark, with the written review worth 75%. Presentation and written review rubrics will be posted on Elearning in order to give you a better idea of what considerations your evaluation are based upon.


Policy Paper: Students will write a research paper (7,000-10,000 words) on a policy topic of their choice (subject to approval by the instructor) within the general theme of freshwater policy. Student must submit a paper proposal, due March 14. The instructor will meet in person with each student as part of our March 18 class to discuss their proposal and paper topic. Failure to submit a proposal results in a deduction of 10% from your final Policy Paper mark. Students are also required to submit a Policy Paper draft, which is due April 18, and there will be a 10% deduction for failing to submit this (or if the draft is too incomplete). The point of submitting this draft is so that the instructor will have the opportunity to provide feedback on your work-in-progress, so the closer you are to finished the more advantageous submitting the draft will be for you. The final Policy Paper will be due on April 27. Further details and instruction about this paper will be forthcoming.





MODULE 1 – DEVELOPMENT OF US WATER POLICY (January 11 to January 25)


Seminar: January 22

-discussion of Module 1 readings

-selection of books for Book Review assignment



-Module 1 written summaries due on January 25



Donald Worster, Chapter 2, in Rivers of Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985)

-David Sedlak, Chapters 1-5, in Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource (New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 2014)

-Juliet Christian-Smith and Lucy Allen, Chapter 2, in Juliet Christian-Smith and Peter Gleick et al., A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012)

-Peter Rogers, Chapter 3, Appendices 1-4, in America’s Water: Federal Roles and Responsibilities (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1996)

-Joseph W. Dellapenna, “The Evolution of Riparianism in the United States,” 95 Marquette Law Review 53 (2011): 53-90



MODULE 2 – US WATER POLICY (January 26 to February 26)


Seminar: February 19

-discussion of Module 2 readings

-Book Review presentations



-Module 2 written summaries due on February 19

-Book Reviews due on February 26



-Jonathan P. Deason, Theodore M. Schad, and George William Sherk, “Water Policy in the United States: A Perspective,” Water Policy 3 (3) (2001): 175-92

-Various Authors, Introduction, Chapters 1, 4, 5, Appendix, in Juliet Christian-Smith and Peter Gleick et al., A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012)

-Andrea Gerlak, “Federalism and U.S. water policy: Lessons for the 21st Century,” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 36(2) (2006): 231-257

-David Sedlak, Chapters 6-10, in Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource (New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 2014)

Daniel McCool, River Republic: The Fall and Rise of America’s Rivers (New York Columbia University Press, 2012)

-Claudia Copeland, “Clean Water Act: A Summary of the Law” (2010)

-Stephen Mumme, “From Equitable Utilization to Sustainable Development: Advancing Equity in U.S.-Mexico Border Water Management,” in John M. Whiteley, Helen Ingram, and Richard Perry, Water Place and Equity (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008)





Seminar:  March 18

-discussion of Module 3 readings

-meetings to discuss Policy Paper Proposal



-Policy Paper Proposal due on March 14

-Module 3 written summaries due on March 18



-Murray Clamen and Daniel Macfarlane, “The International Joint Commission, Water Levels, and Transboundary Governance in the Great Lakes,” Journal of Policy Research Vol. 32, Issue 1 (January 2015): 40-59

-Noah Hall and Benjamin C. Houston, “Law and Governance of the Great Lakes,” DePaul Law Review 63 (3) 723 (2014): 722-769

-Peter Annin, The Great Lakes Water Wars (Washington: Island Press, 2006)

-Sara Gosman, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Implementation of the Great Lakes Compact” (July 2011)

-Carolyn Johns, “Transboundary Water Pollution Efforts in the Great Lakes: The Significance of National and Sub-national Policy Capacity,” in Environmental Governance on the 49th Parallel: New Century, New Approaches (Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center, 2010)

-Anjali Patel et. al. “Halting the Invasion: Maintaining the health of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins by preventing further exchange of aquatic invasive species,” Environmental Practice 12(4) (2010): 342-35

-Law Enforcement Division – Public Rights on Michigan Waters

-David P. Lusch, “An Overview of Existing Water Law in Michigan Related to Irrigation Water Use and Riparian Considerations” (February 2011)



MODULE 4 – THE FUTURE OF WATER POLICY (March 19 to April 30)



-Module 4 written summaries due on April 8

-Policy Paper draft due on April 18

-Policy Paper due on April 27



-David Sedlak, Chapters 11-13, in Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource (New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 2014)

-Various authors, Chapters 3, 6-12, in Juliet Christian-Smith and Peter Gleick et al., A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012)

-Martin Melosi, Chapter 8, in Precious Commodity: Providing Water for America’s Cities (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011)

-Mike Gonzalez and Marianella Yanes, The Last Drop: The Politics of Water (London: Pluto

Press, 2015)


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