Managing Special Provisions in Wilderness: Water Rights

Be the first to review this product

This course is intended to highlight the need to engage with water rights issues to preserve wilderness character.

* Required Fields



The mandate from Section 4(b) of the Wilderness Act states that "each agency administering any area designated as wilderness shall be responsible for preserving the wilderness character of the area." In this course, we will discuss from where water rights originate, the extent of the water right associated with wilderness, how to prioritize work towards safeguarding water rights, and the basic elements of the work required to accomplish these tasks.

Though the course will not make you a water rights expert or equip you to work independently, it is intended to provide wilderness managers with sufficient knowledge of the topic, so as to engage with other staff in the important work of securing and maintaining water rights.


Section 4(d)(8) of the Wilderness Act of 1964 [16 U.S.C. 1133(d)(7)] states: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting the jurisdiction or responsibilities of the several States with respect to wildlife and fish in the national forests." This course examines the meaning of this simple sentence and places it in the context of the Wilderness Act as a whole.

See More

Course Schedule

This course is self-paced, allowing learners the flexibility to complete the course as quickly or slowly as they need. While exploring course content, learners can investigate topics in greater detail through enrichment activities that link to real-world examples, original source materials, and policy documents. Learners can easily move from section to section as they navigate through the course, revisiting concepts as needed.

Elements of the course:

  • Informational text
  • Interactive practice activities
  • Learn More opportunities
  • Supplemental reference materials
  • Final assessment

After completing all course activities, you will complete a brief assessment to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the assessment, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.

Course Chapters

  • A Brief History of Water Rights and How They Apply to Federal Lands
  • Water in Wilderness - Why it Matters to Wilderness Character
  • Making Sense of Terminology
  • Principles of a Federal Reserved Water Right
  • How Much Water Is Allocated to Wilderness?
  • Wilderness Specific Legislation
  • Water Right Issues That May Influence a Wilderness Water Right
  • Adjudcation of Federal Reserved Water Rights
  • Protecting Water Resources Without an Adjucated Federal Water Right
  • Prioritized Workload
  • Water Rights Work Breakdown
  • Your Role in Water Rights
  • Managing Water Storage and Conveyance Facilities in Wilderness
  • Other Considerations Related to Water Rights
  • Climate Change and Water Rights

Be able to:

  • Describe the importance of water rights to wilderness stewardship
  • Define the fundamentals of the two systems that allocate water in the United States
  • Describe how water rights may be protectedd for the benefit of wilderness
  • Identify the water resource features on which to focus the most attention

Recommended Background

Wilderness Managers with the water rights in his or her wilderness.


Aside from an internet connection, what resources will I need for the course?

No additional resources are required for this course.

Will I get a certificate after completing the course?

Yes! All courses include a final assessment to evaluate your understanding of key course concepts. A certificate of completion will be offered to you if you complete the assessment with a score of 80% or higher.

Why should I take this course?

Each Eppley e-course is designed collaboratively among experienced instructional designers, subject matter experts, and our partner organizations and institutions. The course curriculum includes current information and best practices in the field, and it is recognized by national leaders in parks, recreation, and land management. Not only will this course benefit your career by expanding your knowledge base, but it will also enhance your application and problem-solving skills.

For more frequently asked questions, please visit our Help Center.


Write Your Own Review

You're reviewing: Managing Special Provisions in Wilderness: Water Rights

How do you rate this product? *

  1 star 2 stars 3 stars 4 stars 5 stars