Kelly L Warner

Kelly Warner has been a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey for over 20 years with expertise in water-quality, groundwater, and continuous nutrient monitoring. The focus of her research is on nutrients and arsenic.  Kelly is the Deputy Director for Science at the Central Midwest Water Science Center and coordinates research for the Center.


Kelly received a B.A. from Knox College and a M.S. from Northern Illinois University. While in graduate school, she joined the USGS as a student intern studying lakes and surface water in northern Illinois.  After completing graduate school, Kelly worked for the Illinois State Geological Survey on geologic and hydrologic site analyses for the superconducting super collider. She moved to Urbana, IL to work for the U.S. Geological Survey on a study of groundwater in the Great Lakes basin. This study involved States, Canada, and the International Joint Commission to assess groundwater quality in the Great Lakes Basin. Groundwater is now part of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and in 2016 Kelly helped in writing the first international biennial report on Great Lakes groundwater quality. Kelly has been an integral part of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program as a Regional Aquifer Coordinator where she led a team of hydrologists from Maine to Washington in investigations of water quality of the glacial aquifer system. Water quality of the glacial aquifer system is critical to 41 million people that rely on the glacial aquifer for drinking water. While working with NAWQA, Kelly became Chief of Investigations at the USGS in Illinois and helped lead a regional team in implementing a continuous monitoring network and investigation of nutrients in the Mississippi River basin. Accurately quantifying nutrient loading to the Mississippi River is important for predicting the changes in the Hypoxic Zone, where oxygen is so depleted that life cannot be sustained. Since 2017, Kelly has been the Deputy Director for Science at the Central Midwest Water Science Center and is coordinating all water research studies in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.