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Laura M Norman, Ph.D.

Dr. Laura M. Norman is a Supervisory Research Physical Scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey, where she has worked since 1998. Her research combines remotely-sensed imagery and other geospatial data in complex hydrological, hydraulic, and LULC models to predict the source, fate, and transport of non-point source pollutants, consider potential growth scenarios, and document impacts of change.

Laura couples methods and models across scientific disciplines to allow for a synthesis of results that simulate and communicate risk, impacts of land-use and climate change, and proposed interventions. She has conducted international research for decades, with focus on transboundary watersheds of the US-Mexico border and Tribal lands, where environmental and socioeconomic stressors disproportionately affect human health, well-being, and quality of life. Most recently her research is being used to help establish best management practices in arid lands; characterize trade-offs between ecological, economic, and social values for land use decision support; and the establishment of a binational monitoring and tracking strategy for mitigation of flood risk. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles on a wide-range of topics including cross-border policy, regional planning, climate resilience, environmental justice, restoration design, ecosystem services, hydrologic modeling, and watershed management. 


  • Aridland Water Harvesting Study, 2013 - present.
  • Tribal Land Vegetation and Watershed Modeling, 2018 - present.
  • Santa Cruz Watershed Ecosystem Portfolio Model (SCWEPM), 2010 - 2013. 
  • Western Region- Border Environmental Health Initiative (BEHI), 2008 - 2012. 
  • Predicting Environmental Consequences of Urban Development on the US-Mexico Border, 2004 – 2010.
  • Geospatial Analysis of the Lower Colorado River, 2004 - 2007


  • Affiliated/Joint Faculty, Watershed Management and Ecohydrology Programs, School of Natural Resources & the Environment, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, The University of Arizona (1998-Present).
  • Lab Instructor & Teaching Assistant, GIS for Natural Resources (RNR 417/517). University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (08/00-12/04). 
  • NASA Space Grant Mentor (2010-2011).
  • USGS Mendenhall Fellow (Post-Doc) mentor (FY12-13).
  • NSF Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP) adviser (FY16 - present).
  • Paul D. Coverdell Fellow (M.S.) mentor (FY19 - present).
  • Fulbright Garcia-Robles (Ph.D.) mentor (FY22-23)
  • Graduate Advisor to students (M.S. and Ph.D.).  


*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government