ESCI/ESTU 493 (5 cr)/536(4 cr): Environmental Impact Assessment

Winter Quarter


Instructor: Leo Bodensteiner ES 442  X7375 MWF  9-10:20


Description  This course is a practicum in the preparation of environmental impact statements.  Students form groups and prepare assessments which describe natural areas or built environments and examine alternatives to proposed or existing actions.  The areas studied will be selected by the instructor based on the challenges offered for educational value to students and potential benefits to the community at large.  Most of the information collected is secondary but there are opportunities to do primary research depending on the nature of the study area.  Task groups will compile and distribute their reports and will conduct at least one public hearing on their findings: they will also participate in public hearing held by all task groups. 


Requirements  The content of the EIA will be based on the requirements of the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)-Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 43.21C, its regulations, the Washington Advisory Code (WAC) 197-11-010-968, and some social impact assessment research.  Students are particularly encouraged to be innovative in the use of methods.  Graphic illustrations are required in the text of the EIA.  The standard research referencing, bibliography, and list of persons interviewed are required, and field methods and procedures shall be documented.


Text  State Environmental Policy Act and the Washington Advisory Code (regulations) for this state law.  These are available through the Washington Dept. of Ecology web site.


Grading  Students will be required to provide letter grades for each of their team members to the instructor.  The criteria for determining this grade are: 1) professional attitude; 2) quality of the product; 3) contribution to the task group effort; 4) cooperation with the members of the task force; 5) performance in the public hearing of the document, if a participant in the presentation; and 6) persistence and dependability.  Grades comprise the following tasks and respective weights: EIA 40%; peer evaluation of participation 30%; letter and resume 5%; quiz on SEPA 15%; and presentation 10%.  Presentations will be graded in part by peers.


Reports  Final reports shall include the following text: “This report represents a class project that was carried out by students of Western Washington University, Huxley College of the Environment.  It has not been undertaken at the request of any persons representing local governments or private individuals, nor does it necessarily represent the opinion or position of individuals from government or the private sector.”  You will provide written copies of your report to: each team member; the instructor; Huxley Map Library; Wilson Library Special Collections; and the primary project contact person(s).  Also, you will provide a copy of your report on CD to the instructor.



Day 1      Wed.       Introduction to the course

Day 2      Fri.          Preparation of letters and resumes

Day 3      Mon.       State Environmental Policy Act; presentation of projects

Day 4      Wed.       Letters and resumes due; SEPA process cont.

Day 5      Fri.          Groups form and meet in ES318 or the Map Library

Days 6 to end of Week 9 Groups meet to work on EIAs.  Attendance is required each Monday unless otherwise announced. 

Day 8      Mon.       SEPA quiz due

Day 17    Mon.       Progress reports will be presented by each group.

Week 10               Presentation of EIAs.  You choose the times and locations and inform the instructor on a first come, first served basis.  Off campus sites are preferred, and you should attempt to accommodate the widest audience.  Your documents are due when you give your presentations.