Laura M Norman

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 fate & transport of non-point source pollutants and identify their sources, consider potential growth scenarios, and document impacts. 


Dr. Norman 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. Her research often crosses administrative boundaries adding the complexity of International, cultural, and political divisions in the analyses. Most recently focused on the binational Madrean Archipelago (Sky Island) Ecoregion study area, a hotspot of biodiversity and predicted climate change along the US-Mexico border, this 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.


** A Jaguar’s Field of Dreams—If you build it, they will come (& other lessons from the U.S. - Mexico border). USGS Evening Public Lecture Series, Menlo Park, CA, US. March 25, 2021.

** Ecohydrology of Rock Detention Structures: Aridland Water Harvesting Structures. Presentation for the Cienega Watershed Partnership, Virtual. May 5, 2021.

** International Watersheds Coping with Climate Hazards; Twin-City Solutions at Ambos Nogales and San Diego–Tijuana. Brown Bag Webinar - World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center, Tucson, AZ. June 17, 2021



University of Arizona
Watershed Resources, Minor in Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis
PhD 2005

Pima Community College
Programming in Visual Basic
Cert. 2001

University of Arizona
Watershed Management, Advanced Resource Technology Option
M.S. 2000

Oregon State University
Forestry, Minor in Cultural Anthropology
B.S. 1994


  • January 1999 – December 2004: Research Assistant/ GIS Lab Instructor, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.
  • August 1998 – present: Research Physical Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey, Tucson, Ariz.

Principal Investigator

Student Mentor

  • Academic Affiliate, Adjunct status (Designated Campus Colleague),  School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona (1997-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) mentor (FY16 - present)
  • Paul D. Coverdell Fellow (M.S.) mentor (FY19 - present)
  • Graduate Advisor to students (MS and PhD)