Natural Resource Management in Wilderness: Soil and Water

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This course discusses the importance of management and monitoring soil and water resources—inside and outside wilderness; the various laws relating to management; and identifies strategies for prevention, mitigation, and restoration of impacts on soil and water resources in wilderness.


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It’s often taken for granted that soil and water will always be there: clean, plentiful, and productive. In wilderness, natural processes prevail—processes that help renew water and soil. This course will allow learners to understand better the importance of monitoring soil and water resources, the laws that govern their management, and the steps necessary to implement this knowledge.

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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. This course includes the following elements.

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

  • Key Terms
  • Law & Policy
  • Wilderness Character
  • Stewardship Goal
  • Stewardship Model
  • Step 1: Identify Goal
  • Step 2: Inventory
  • Step 3: Is Action Necessary?
  • Step 4: Action Alternatives
  • Step 5: Evaluate Actions
  • Step 6: Monitor & Adapt

Be able to:

  • Describe the tie between watershed attributes of soil and water and the National Wilderness Preservation System
  • Explain the essential elements of managing soil and water resources in wilderness.
  • Recognize the ecological function of biological soil crust resources.
  • Recognize potential threats to and issues concerning soil and water resources in wilderness.
  • Identify management strategies and guidelines
  • Discuss several monitoring programs available for soil and water resources.

Recommended Background

It is strongly recommended that you complete the free The Wilderness Act of 1964 before beginning this course. Without foundational knowledge of the Wilderness Act, you will not be able to get the most out of this course and could find the content confusing. Other recommended courses are Minimum Requirements Analysis and Natural Resource Management in Wilderness: Fundamentals. The Wilderness Act of 1964, Minimum Requirements Analysis, and other e-courses can be found at


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