Tribal Water Resources Management Online Course

September 1 - October 26, 2014   

Tribal Water Resources Management is a comprehensive course that has been developed collaboratively with NAU’s College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences’ faculty, the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, legal experts and tribal environmental professionals from across the country. This course will cover a variety of tribally-specific management topics ranging in complexity and depth from fundamentals of water quality to quantification of Indian water rights. One key objective for this training is to increase participants’ exposure to practical and applied water resource management concepts as well as foundational theories. The target audience for this course is tribal environmental professionals who work in, or plan to work in tribal water programs. This course will provide information, tools, and case studies for working professionals in the field to feel more prepared and capable in their current position. Course details and learning outcomes are provided for each of the following modules below:

Modules - view syllabus

First Offering

Second Offering

Tribal Water Law & Policy

Sep 1-14, 2014

spring 2015

Introduction to Water Resources & Water Quality on Tribal Lands

Sep 15-28, 2014

Water Infrastructure (Civil Engineering Focus)

Sep 29-Oct 12, 2014

Water Management on Tribal Lands

Oct 13-26, 2014


Estimated Learning Time

It is estimated that participants will spend approximately 4-6 hours per week on course content, dedicating: 40 hours total learning time for an eight-week course and 10 hours total learning time for a two-week module.

Course Costs and CEUs

Upon completion of each module (with *75% pass rate on the final exam, participants may repeat the exam until passing grade achieved), participants will receive an online certificate of completion and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) equivalent to the learning time associated with each module. These CEUs are offered by ITEP under the umbrella of NAU’s College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences and NAU’s Applied Indigenous Studies Program.

Participants completing:

  • an 8-week course with 40 hours total learning time will receive 4.0 CEUs and costs $750
  • 2-week module with 10 hours total learning time will receive 1.0 CEU and costs $250

Course Delivery Methods

The courses and modules will be delivered through NAU’s online learning system. The tools used in this learning system will include discussion boards, blogs, journals, groups, chat, wikis, virtual classroom, videos, and reading materials.

Tribal Water Resource Management Modules

Tribal Water Law & Policy, September 1 - 14, 2014

This module offers participants a broad introduction to the pertinent tribal and federal water law as well as real-world case studies on how tribes have encountered and navigated through the legal elements of water management.

View learning outcomes

After completing this module, participants will be able to:

  • identify the major pieces of legislation
  • explain the regulatory framework for surface and ground water quality and drinking water;        
  • outline the legal history of tribal water law, including key articles of legislation
  • provide an overview of the current state of tribal water law, including Indian water rights
  • discuss the purpose and contents of the Clean Water Act, specifically Sections 301 and 306

Estimated Learning Time: 10 hours
Course Cost: $250

Introduction to Water Resources & Water Quality on Tribal Lands
September 15 – 28, 2014

Participants will explore water resource management topics tailored specifically to tribes and tribal environmental programs. This module also includes a comprehensive virtual lab in which participants will discover techniques for chemical, biological, and physical water quality analysis.

View learning outcomes

After completing this module, participants will be able to:

  • discuss some of the most frequent management challenges encountered within tribal water programs; Discuss viable solutions to these challenges & provide examples based on case studies presented during this module
  • describe the major tools and techniques utilized for assessing surface and ground water quality; Identify the features associated with healthy riparian and waterways
  • outline the key components of a water quality control plan
  • recognize indicators of poor water quality as well as mechanisms for testing and addressing degraded water quality
  • be familiar with the protocols for conducting site assessments

Estimated Learning Time: 10 hours
Course Cost: $250

Water Infrastructure (Civil Engineering Focus)
September 29 – October 12, 2014

This module covers the major elements of water capture, extraction, and treatment for municipal uses in tribal communities. In addition, this module covers the major usage sectors and mechanisms for distribution.

View learning outcomes

After completing this module, participants will be able to:

  • describe the ways in which Tribal Memoranda of Understanding with federal agencies can be used to leverage and ensure safe drinking water and basic wastewater facilities to tribes
  • possess a working knowledge of major processes with the water cycle, including surface and groundwater hydrology
  • understand the basic infrastructure and treatment processes for drinking water and wastewater systems

Estimated Learning Time: 10 hours
Course Cost: $250

Water Management on Tribal Lands, October 13-26, 2014

Participants will explore and discover tribally-specific water management priorities and strategies as well as evaluate methods for developing and maintaining tribal water programs.

View learning outcomes

After completion of this module, participants will be able to:

  • describe the protocols for tribes to pursue and secure co-management status (with the U.S. EPA) for water quality management
  • outline several examples of successful management strategies for developing water programs; Examples will be drawn from case studies presented during the module
  • identify major sources of funding for development and maintenance of tribal water management programs
  • explain some of the manners in which climate change might impact future planning scenarios
Estimated Learning Time: 10 hours
Course Cost: $250