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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.
Rock detention structures have been used globally for thousands of years to improve the ecohydrology in dryland regions. This project documents their impacts in the US-Mexico border related to ecological restoration and climate resilience, with findings that provide nature-based solutions to mitigate flooding, drought, and erosion.
The San Carlos Apache Tribe is interested to determine cultural and natural values at risk of degradation resulting from changes in climate and land use. Remote sensing analysis of vegetation over time helps describe the relationship to change and how land management can help restore the landscape to pre-reservation conditions.
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.
2005 – present: Research Physical Scientist, USGS Western Geographic Science Center
2000 - 2005: Physical Scientist, USGS Student Career Experience Program (SCEP)
1998 - 2000: Research Assistant, Geospatial Analyst, USGS Minerals Program (Contracted)
1999 – 2004: Research Assistant/ GIS Lab Instructor, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.
Ph.D. Watershed Resources, Minor in Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis, University of Arizona, 2005
Cert. in Computer Programming, Visual Basic, Pima Community College, 2001
M.S. Watershed Management, Advanced Resource Technology Option, University of Arizona, 2000
B.S. Forestry, Minor in Cultural Anthropology, Oregon State University, 1994
Academic Affiliate, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona (1997- Present)
Arizona Floodplain Management Association - 2021+
American Water Resources Association (AWRA) - 2020 +
Society for Ecological Restoration - 2014 +
National Ground Water Association - 2009
American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing– 2009
Selected as Climate Embassy Science Fellow by U.S. Department of State, to reduce vulnerability and increase local capacity, to respond to flooding and drought at Nogales, Sonora, Mexico (2021).
Awarded William C. Ackermann Medal for Excellence in Water Management by American Water Resources Association (AWRA) eminence in design and/or exemplary water management practices (2021).
Awarded USGS Excellence in Leadership Award for protecting threatened water resources of the US-Mexico Borderlands and developing and fostering collaborative relationships and partnerships (2020)
Nominated/serving on USGS Ecosystems Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Group and USGS Southwest Region's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team (2021).
Nominated Borderlands Restoration Network Senior Fellow, to help restoration economy, ecosystems, and border communities through shared learning (2019 - present).
Elected President, Society for Ecological Restoration, Southwest Chapter (SER-SW) to facilitate communication of land managers, researchers, and restorationists in SW USA (2014-2017).
Elected as Region Director, Southwest US Region of American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) (2010-2012).
Selected for USGS Student Career Experience Program (SCEP; 2000- 2005).
Research Assistantship at University of Arizona, in GIS development, design, and application of cartographic and spatial analysis for agriculture, natural resources, and rural development (1999-2000).
The U.S. Geological Survey public lecture series is back and virtual. News reporters are invited to attend to learn how USGS scientists are helping...
Laura Norman's Aridland Water Harvesting Study helps lead a tour of a restoration and monitoring project at the Boy Scouts of America, Heard Scout...
An article published in the Scientific American describes how conservationists along the poverty-stricken Arizona–Mexico are repairing habitat for...
Laura Norman was asked to provide a presentation at the Hassayampa River Study meeting. Stakeholders in the 3,700 km² watershed are interested in the...
Laura Norman helped scientists from the USGS, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), and the University of Arizona...