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Land use and watershed management to reduce eutrophication

Water is one of our most important natural resources and there will always be a demand for knowledge of how to manage this limited resource. Eutrophication of inland waters and coastal areas and pollution of groundwater are among the most serious problems relating to human activities in the landscape, and are the focus of this course. Invited lecturers provide an insight into different types of water management career in society, some of which may be the future employment of students taking this course.
The course will provide students with comprehensive knowledge of how eutrophication affects aquatic ecosystems. The importance of different pollution sources caused by human activities (agriculture, forestry and wastewater from urban and rural treatment plants and facilities) in a watershed will also be evaluated, in combination with development of suitable remediation programmes using a source apportionment model.

The course evaluation is open

Please fill in the evaluation form

You have until 2021-12-16

Additional course evaluations for MV0217

Academic year 2021/2022

Land use and watershed management to reduce eutrophication (MV0217-M2090) 2021-11-02 - 2021-12-02

Academic year 2020/2021

Land use and watershed management to reduce eutrophication (MV0217-20155) 2020-11-02 - 2020-12-02

Academic year 2019/2020

Land use and watershed management to reduce eutrophication (MV0217-20102) 2019-11-01 - 2019-12-03

Academic year 2018/2019

Land use and watershed management to reduce eutrophication (MV0217-20084) 2018-11-06 - 2018-12-06

MV0217 Land use and watershed management to reduce eutrophication, 7.5 Credits

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Syllabus approved



Soil science Environmental science

Education cycle

Master’s level


Title Credits Code
Written examination  5.00 1002
Study visits and written assignment  2.50 1003

Advanced study in the main field

Second cycle, only first-cycle courses as entry requirements(A1N)

Grading scale

5:Pass with Distinction, 4:Pass with Credit, 3:Pass, U:Fail The requirements for attaining different grades are described in the course assessment criteria which are contained in a supplement to the course syllabus. Current information on assessment criteria shall be made available at the start of the course.



Prior knowledge

Knowledge equivalent to:
• 150 ECTS first-cycle courses, including
• 60 ECTS in a scientific subject such as Biology, Agricultural Science, Soil Science, Earth Sciences, Environmental Science or Technology,
• 10 ECTS Chemistry,
• 10 ECTS Biology,
• 15 ECTS Soil Science or Earth Sciences
• a level of English equivalent to upper-seconday-school English (Engelska 6).


The course provides the foundations for work with water quality and management issues.
It provides a holistic picture of the eutrophying emissions that can be related to human activities in watersheds.

On completion of the course students will be able to:
• describe hydrological processes and catchment hydrology,
• describe how the most important chemical and biological processes in the aquatic environment are affected by increased levels of nitrogen and phosphorus,
• describe how different cultivation practices within agriculture affect the water quality in a watershed, with focus on nitrogen and phosphorus load,
• suggest appropriate mitigation measures for reduced nitrogen and phosphorus losses to recipient waters,
• outline how emissions from private sewage systems and sewage treatment plants affect the water quality in a watershed, and possible methods for reduced impact,
• give a general outline of the value of the environmental quality objectives, directives and legislation concerning water quality management in Sweden and the rest of the EU,
• plan and carry out a literature study of choice within the scope of the course area and present the results in both a written and oral presentation.


The course explores the effects of eutrophying emissions on the aquatic environment and how mitigation measures and programs can be designed, implemented and managed. Focus is mainly on watershed management under northern European conditions. Teaching is based on lectures, literature studies, group exercises and study visits. An individual term paper is included where supervision is provided by a researcher. All course components are compulsory, except lectures.

The following topics are included in the course:
• hydrology at the watershed scale,
• occurrence, pools and transport pathways of nutrients and other compounds to recipient ground- and surface waters,
• biological and chemical processes in aquatic systems,
• eutrophication problems in inland waters and marine systems,
• existing environmental monitoring of water quality and methods for assessment and water status evaluation,
• reasons for and use of mitigation measures to reduce nutrient loads to the aquatic environment from agriculture, forestry and wastewater,
• wetlands for increased nutrient retention in the landscape,
• legislation, directives and environmental quality objectives in Sweden and the rest of Europe,
• water quality management issues, in a national and international perspective.

Formats and requirements for examination

The following is required for a pass mark on the course:
• passed written examination,
• approved written and oral reporting of project and exercises,
• approved participation in compulsory components.
  • If the student fails a test, the examiner may give the student a supplementary assignment, provided this is possible and there is reason to do so.
  • If the student has been granted special educational support because of a disability, the examiner has the right to offer the student an adapted test, or provide an alternative assessment.
  • If changes are made to this course syllabus, or if the course is closed, SLU shall decide on transitional rules for examination of students admitted under this syllabus but who have not yet passed the course.
  • For the examination of a degree project (independent project), the examiner may also allow the student to add supplemental information after the deadline. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Other information

  • The right to take part in teaching and/or supervision only applies to the course date to which the student has been admitted and registered on.
  • If there are special reasons, the student may take part in course components that require compulsory attendance at a later date. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Responsible department

Department of Soil and Environment
Cooperating departments:
Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment

Further information

Determined by: Programnämnden för utbildning inom naturresurser och jordbruk (PN - NJ)
Replaces: MV0194
There are no Grading criteria posted for this course
3) Protecting and restoring Europe's waters: An analysis of the future development needs of the Water Framework Directive, Science of the Total Environment, 658, 1228–1238
Author: Carvalho et al., 2019
4) The EU Water Framework Directive: From great expectations to problems with implementation, Science of the Total Environment, 575, 358–366.
Author: Voulvoulis et al., 2017
5) Stewardship to tackle global phosphorus inefficiency: The case of Europe. Ambio, 44, S193–S206.
Author: Withers et al., 2015
6) From single fields to river basins: Identification of critical source areas for erosion and phosphorus losses at high resolution, Ambio,, 1-14.
Author: Djodjic and Markensten, 2018
7) Possibilities for Reducing Nitrate Leaching from Agricultural Land. Ambio, 31, 404-408.
Author: Kirchmann et al., 2002
8) Two centuries of nitrogen dynamics: Legacy sources and sinks in the Mississippi and Susquehanna River Basins. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 31, 2-23.
Author: Van Meter et al., 2017
9) The fine structure of water-quality dynamics: the (high-frequency) wave of the future. Hydrological Processes, 18, 1353-1359.
Author: Kirchner et al., 2004
10) On the value of long-term, low-frequency water quality sampling: avoiding throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Hydrological Processes, 25, 828-830.
Author: Burt et al., 2011
11) Major agricultural changes required to mitigate phosphorus losses under climate change, Nature Communications, 8, 1-9.
Author: Ockenden et al., 2017
12) Sustainable intensification of agricultural drainage, Nature Sustainability, 2, 914-921.
Author: Castellano et al., 2019
13) Multiple-stressor effects of sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen on stream macroinvertebrate communities, Science of the Total Environment, 637-638, 577–587.
Author: Davis et al., 2018
14) Management of Phosphorus Resources – Historical Perspective, Principal Problems and Sustainable Solutions. In Integrated Waste Management – Volume II. 247-268.
Author: Cohen et al., 2011

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: Yes The course is offered as a programme course: Agriculture Programme - Soil/Plant EnvEuro - European Master in Environmental Science Soil, Water and Environment – Master´s Programme Agriculture Programme - Soil/Plant (270hec) Soil and Water Management - Master´s Programme Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 19027 SEK Cycle: Master’s level
Subject: Soil science Environmental science
Course code: MV0217 Application code: SLU-20090 Distance course: No Language: English Responsible department: Department of Soil and Environment Pace: 100%