The WSSS Practicum
The Practicum offers an opportunity for WSSS students to work in small groups on the integrated assessment of water resources case studies. The goal of the Practicum is to expose students to the techniques and processes of integrated water resource managment in order to train them as researchers and professionals. In 2013, WSSS Practica focused Malden River in the Boston area, and in the Aida Refugee Camp in the Palestinian West Bank city of Bethlehem. Both practica expand on work completed in previous years around the Mystic River and in Palestine. Participation in a practicum is a requirement of the WSSS P track, which is coordinated by Rusty Russell of the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Department (UEP) with support from other participating WSSS faculty.
In 2014, the students enrolled in the P track will have a choice of three Practicum projects: on the Malden River, in the Lajee Center of Aida Camp in Palestine—both of which expand on work done in previous years—and on Cape Cod. Descriptions of the projects are below.
Palestine Practicum: Lajee Ceter of Aida Camp
Aida Refugee Camp: Inspiring a New Generation of Water Advocates
This will be the third year of our WSSS Practicum at the Aida Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Our work in the West Bank – in Palestine – has focused on the twin (and related) issues of quality and quantity of potable water for the approximately 6,000 Palestinians who live in Aida Camp. For this year, the plan proposed by the Lajee Center, the on-site NGO with whom we have collaborated in the past and with which we maintain a close ongoing relationship, is to design, plan and conduct a training workshop over three to four days involving 15 to 20 young people who live at Aida—the next generation of water advocates.
Malden River Practicum: Mystic River Watershed Association (MyWRA)
Creating a Great New Place in the Urban Landscape
This will be the second year of our ongoing WSSS Practicum on the Malden River, a two-mile tributary to the Mystic River that is one of the most overlooked community resources in the entire Boston area. In 2012-2013, a group of seven graduate students from two Tufts schools laid the foundation for a long-term strategy to reimagine and recreate the Malden by turning it into an attractive urban recreation and conservation space. The Practicum team last year helped to bring together and energize a new citizen action group, Friends of the Malden River.
The Malden River lies within a densely-populated urban landscape. The river’s surrounding cities, Everett, Malden and Medford (total population, 160,000), are home to sizable, under-served environmental justice communities. This year's project, which will be completed as either a WSSS practicum or as a UEP field project, will be undertaken in direct collaboration with one of our partners, the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), but also by working closely with the Friends of the Malden group and with the Tri-City Community Action Program (Tri-CAP), which has deep roots in all three cities and long experience in the anti-poverty and environmental justice areas.
Cape Cod Practicum: Falmouth and Wellfleet
Cape Cod Water Resources Nutrient Management
Earlier this year, the Cape Cod Commission – the Cape’s regional planning agency – was directed to update the 1978 Water Quality Plan for Cape Cod, developed under sec. 208 of the federal Clean Water Act. The purpose of the update is to address the water quality impacts caused by the significant regional population growth that has taken place over the past 35 years. This impact now threatens the high-value coastal and fresh waters that are fundamental to the Cape’s economy. The WSSS Practicum team will provide technical, planning and policy assistance to the process of updating the Plan.