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. The novel application of coupling established methods/models across scientific disciplines allows for a sophisticated synthesis of results that simulate and communicate risk, impacts of land-use and climate change, and proposed interventions. Given the added complexity to consider International cultural and political divisions in 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.


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)
  • Graduate Advisor to students (MS and PhD)



Norman, L., Callegary, J., Lacher, L., Wilson, N., Fandel, C., Forbes, B., & Swetnam, T. (2019). Modeling Riparian Restoration Impacts on the Hydrologic Cycle at the Babacomari Ranch, SE Arizona, USA. Water, 11(2), 381.

Norman, L. M., Villarreal, M. L., Niraula, R., Haberstich, M., & Wilson, N. R. (2019). Modelling Development of Riparian Ranchlands using Ecosystem Services at the Aravaipa Watershed, SE Arizona. Land, 8(4), 64.

Middleton, B. R., Wilson, N. R., & Norman, L. M. (2019). Data release for remote sensing analysis of vegetation at the San Carlos Apache Reservation, Arizona and surrounding area. U.S. Geological Survey Data Release.


Norman, L. M., Haberstich, M., Niraula, R., Wilson, N. R., & Middleton, B. R. (2018). Development Implication on Hydrologic Ecosystem Services in the Aravaipa Canyon Watershed, SE Arizona (Report by USGS for The Nature Conservancy No. IP-098597) (p. 51). Tucson, AZ, U.S.A.

Norman, L. M., Middleton, B. R., & Wilson, N. R. (2018). Remote sensing analysis of vegetation at the San Carlos Apache Reservation, Arizona and surrounding area. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, 12(02), 1.

Perkl, R., Norman, L. M., Mitchell, D., Feller, M., Smith, G., & Wilson, N. R. (2018). Urban Growth and Connectivity Threats Assessment at Saguaro National Park, Arizona, USA. Journal of Land Use Science.

Petrakis, R. E., Villarreal, M. L., Wu, Z., Hetzler, R., Middleton, B. R., & Norman, L. M. (2018). Evaluating and monitoring forest fuel treatments using remote sensing applications in Arizona, U.S.A. Forest Ecology and Management, 413, 48–61.

Wilson, N. R., & Norman, L. M. (2018a). Analysis of vegetation recovery surrounding a restored wetland using the normalized difference infrared index (NDII) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). International Journal of Remote Sensing, 39(10), 3243–3274.

Wilson, N. R., & Norman, L. M. (2018b). Data release for analysis of vegetation recovery surrounding a restored wetland using the Normalized Difference Infrared Index (NDII) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). U.S. Geological Survey Data Release.



Norman, L. M., Sankey, J. B., Dean, D. J., Caster, J., DeLong, S. B., DeLong, W. M., & Pelletier, J. (2017). Quantifying geomorphic change at ephemeral stream restoration sites using a coupled-model approach. Geomorphology283, 1–16.



Norman, L. M., & Niraula, R. (2016). Model analysis of check dam impacts on long-term sediment and water budgets in Southeast Arizona, USA. Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology.

Wilson, N. R., Norman, L. M., Villarreal, M., Gass, L., Tiller, R., & Salywon, A. (2016). Comparison of remote sensing indices for monitoring of desert cienegas. Arid Land Research and Management, 1–19.

Villarreal, M.L.,  Norman, L. M., Buckley, S., Wallace, C.S.A., and Coe, M.A. (2016) Multi-index time series monitoring of drought and fire effects on desert grasslands, Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 183, 15 September 2016, P. 186-197, ISSN 0034-4257, 



Yang, Z., Dominguez, F., Gupta, H., Zeng, X., & Norman, L. (2015). Urban Effects on Regional Climate: A Case Study in the Phoenix and Tucson “Sun” Corridor. Earth Interactions, 151027111902006.

Norman, L. M., Brinkerhoff, F., Gwilliam, E., Guertin, D. P., Callegary, J., Goodrich, D. C., Nagler, P.L., and Gray, F. (2015). Hydrologic Response of Streams Restored with Check Dams in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona. River Research and Applications, DOI: 10.1002/rra.2895; ISSN: 1535-1467

Niraula, Rewati, Thomas Meixner, and Laura M. Norman. 2015. “Determining the Importance of Model Calibration for Forecasting Absolute / Relative Changes in Streamflow from LULC and Climate Changes.” Journal of Hydrology, 522, 439–451. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.01.007 



Norman, Laura M., Miguel L. Villarreal, H. Ronald Pulliam, Robert Minckley, Leila Gass, Cindy Tolle, and Michelle Coe. 2014. “Remote Sensing Analysis of Riparian Vegetation Response to Desert Marsh Restoration in the Mexican Highlands.” Ecological Engineering 70C: 241–54. doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2014.05.012.

Villarreal, Miguel L., Robert H. Webb, Laura M. Norman, Jennifer L. Psillas, Abigail S. Rosenberg, Shinji Carmichael, Roy E. Petrakis, and Philip E. Sparks. 2014. “Modelling Landscape-Scale Erosion Potential Related to Vehicle Disturbances Along the U.s.-Mexico Border.” Land Degradation & Development, August. doi:10.1002/ldr.2317.



Norman, Laura M., Rudy Shuster, and Jean W. Parcher. 2013. “People in the Borderlands.” In Updike, R.G., Ellis, E.G., Page, W.R., Parker, M.J., Hestbeck, J.B., and Horak, W.F., (Eds.), 2012, United States–Mexican Borderlands—Facing Tomorrow’s Challenges through USGS Science, Chapter 6. Challenge Theme 4.:318. Circular 1380. U.S. Geological Survey.

Norman, Laura, Miguel Villarreal, Rewati Niraula, Thomas Meixner, George Frisvold, and William Labiosa. 2013. “Framing Scenarios of Binational Water Policy with a Tool to Visualize, Quantify and Valuate Changes in Ecosystem Services.” Water 5 (3): 852–74. doi:10.3390/w5030852.

Villarreal, Miguel L., Laura M. Norman, Kenneth G. Boykin, and Cynthia S.A. Wallace. 2013. “Biodiversity Losses and Conservation Trade-offs: Assessing Future Urban Growth Scenarios for a North American Trade Corridor.” International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 9 (2): 90–103. doi:10.1080/21513732.2013.770800.



Niraula, Rewati, Laura M. Norman, Thomas Meixner, and James Callegary. 2012. “Multi-gauge Calibration for Modeling the Semi-Arid Santa Cruz Watershed in Arizona-Mexico Border Area Using SWAT.” Air, Soil and Water Research, no. 5 (April): 41. doi:10.4137/ASWR.S9410.

Norman, Laura M., Felipe Caldeira, James Callegary, Floyd Gray, Mary Kay O’ Rourke, Veronica Meranza, and Saskia Rijn. 2012. “Socio-Environmental Health Analysis in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.” Water Quality, Exposure and Health, April. doi:10.1007/s12403-012-0067-x.

Norman, Laura M., Mark Feller, and Miguel L. Villarreal. 2012. “Developing Spatially Explicit Footprints of Plausible Land-use Scenarios in the Santa Cruz Watershed, Arizona and Sonora.” Landscape and Urban Planning 107 (3): 225–35. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2012.06.015.

Norman, Laura M., Miguel L. Villarreal, Francisco Lara-Valencia, Yongping Yuan, Wenming Nie, Sylvia Wilson, Gladys Amaya, and Rachel Sleeter. 2012. “Mapping Socio-environmentally Vulnerable Populations Access and Exposure to Ecosystem Services at the U.S.–Mexico Borderlands.” Applied Geography 34 (May): 413–24. doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2012.01.006.

Quijada-Mascareñas, Adrián, Charles van Riper III, Daniel L. James, Laura Lopez-Hoffman, Chris Sharp, Randy Gimblett, Michael L. Scott, Norman, L.M., Medellin, R., Callegary, J.B., et al.  2012. “Desarrollo de Un Programa de Monitoreo a Nivel Ecosistema En El Muro Fronterizo México-Estados Unidos.” In En Cordova, A. y C. de La Parra (coordinadores) El Muro Fronterizo Entre México y Estados Unidos. Espacios, Instrumentos y Actores Para Un Diálogo Constructivo. El Colegio de La Frontera Norte. . Pp ., 165–85. Tijuana, México.

Villarreal, Miguel L., Laura M. Norman, and William B. Labiosa. 2012. “Assessing the Vulnerability of Human and Biological Communities to Changing Ecosystem Services Using a GIS-based Multi-criteria Decision Support Tool.” In In R. Seppelt, A.A. Voinov, S. Lange, D. Bankamp (Eds.), International Environmental Modelling and Software Society (iEMSs) 2012 International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software. Managing Resources of a Limited Planet: Pathways and Visions Under Uncertainty, Sixth Biennial Meeting, 427–34. ISBN: 978-88-9035-742-8. Leipzig, Germany.

Villarreal, Miguel L., Leila Gass, Jack L. Childs, Laura M. Norman, Joel B. Sankey, and Cynthia S.A. Wallace. 2012. “Examining Wildlife Responses to Phenology and Wildfire Using a Landscape-scale Camera Trap Network.” In Proceedings of the Biodiversity and Management of the Madrean Archipelago III. Tucson, AZ.



Villarreal, Miguel L., Laura M. Norman, Cynthia S.A. Wallace, and Charles van Riper. 2011. “A Multitemporal (1979-2009) Land-Use/Land-Cover Dataset of the Binational Santa Cruz Watershed.”U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1131: 26.

Villarreal, Miguel L., Laura M. Norman, Robert H. Webb, Diane E. Boyer, and Raymond M. Turner. 2011. “Unravelling Long-term Vegetation Change Patterns in a Binational Watershed Using Multitemporal Land Cover Data and Historical Photography.” In , 101–4. IEEE. doi:10.1109/Multi-Temp.2011.6005058.

Wallace, Cynthia S.A., Miguel L. Villarreal, and Laura M. Norman. 2011. “Development of a High-Resolution Binational Vegetation Map of the Santa Cruz River Riparian Corridor and Surrounding Watershed, Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico.” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report2011-1143: 22.



Norman, L. M, H. Huth, L. Levick, I. Shea Burns, D. Phillip Guertin, F. Lara‐Valencia, and D. Semmens. 2010. “Flood Hazard Awareness and Hydrologic Modelling at Ambos Nogales, United States–Mexico Border.” Journal of Flood Risk Management 3 (2): 151–65. doi:10.1111/j.1753-318X.2010.01066.x.

Norman, Laura M. 2010. “Urbanization and Environmental Health in Arizona Colonias.” In Donelson, A.J., and A.X. Esparza, (Ed.s). The Colonias Reader: Economy, Housing, and Public Health in US-Mexico Border Colonias, 204–17. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Norman, Laura M., James Callegary, Charles van Riper, and Floyd Gray. 2010. “The Border Environmental Health Initiative; Investigating the Transboundary Santa Cruz Watershed.” U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010-3097: 2.

Norman, Laura M., Lainie R Levick, D. Phillip Guertin, James B. Callegary, Jesus Quintanar Guadarrama, Claudia Zulema Gil Anaya, Andrea Prichard, et al. 2010. “Nogales Flood Detention Study.” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1262: 112.

Norman, Laura M., Miguel L. Villarreal, Cynthia S.A. Wallace, Claudia Zulema Gil Anaya, Israel Diaz Arcos, and Floyd Gray. 2010. “A High-Resolution Land-Use Map: Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010-1156: 28.

Norman, Laura, Nita Tallent-Halsell, William Labiosa, Matt Weber, Amy McCoy, Katie Hirschboeck, James Callegary, Charles van Riper, and Floyd Gray. 2010. “Developing an Ecosystem Services Online Decision Support Tool to Assess the Impacts of Climate Change and Urban Growth in the Santa Cruz Watershed; Where We Live, Work, and Play.” Sustainability 2 (7): 2044–69. doi:10.3390/su2072044.



Norman, L.M., I.S. Burns, L. Levick, and J.B. Callegary. 2009. “Planning Land and Water-Resource Management in the Upper Santa Cruz Watershed, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.” In Papers from the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers- 2009.

Norman, Laura M., Mark Feller, and D. Phillip Guertin. 2009. “Forecasting Urban Growth Across the United States–Mexico Border.” Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 33 (2): 150–59. doi:10.1016/j.compenvurbsys.2008.10.003.



Gu, A., F. Gray, C.J. Eastoe, L.M. Norman, O. Duarte, and A. Long. 2008. “Tracing Ground Water Input to Base Flow Using Sulfate (S, O) Isotopes.” Ground Water 46 (3): 502–9.

Norman, Laura, D. Guertin, and Mark Feller. 2008. “A Coupled Model Approach to Reduce Nonpoint-Source Pollution Resulting from Predicted Urban Growth: A Case Study in the Ambos Nogales Watershed.”Urban Geography 29 (5): 496–516. doi:10.2747/0272-3638.29.5.496.

Norman, Laura M., Derrick D. Hirsch, and A. Wesley Ward. 2008. Proceedings of a USGS Workshop on Facing Tomorrow’s Challenges Along the U.S.-Mexico Border—Monitoring, Modeling, and Forecasting Change Within the Arizona-Sonora Transboundary Watersheds. U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1322. Tucson, AZ, U.S.A.

Norman, Laura M., and Cynthia S.A. Wallace. 2008. “Mapping Land Use/land Cover in the Ambos Nogales Study Area.” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008-1378: 42.



Norman, Laura M. 2007. “United States‐Mexican Border Watershed Assessment: Modeling Nonpoint Source Pollution in Ambos Nogales.” Journal of Borderlands Studies 22 (1): 79–97. doi:10.1080/08865655.2007.9695670.

Norman, Laura M., Floyd Gray, D. Phillip Guertin, Craig Wissler, and James D. Bliss. 2007. “Tracking Acid Mine-drainage in Southeast Arizona Using GIS and Sediment Delivery Models.” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 145 (1-3): 145–57. doi:10.1007/s10661-007-0024-5.



Lam, A., L. Norman, and A. Donelson. 2006. “Accessible Information Technology for Equitable Community Planning.” Equity and Sustainable Development: Reflections from the US-Mexico Border. San Diego, CA, Center for US-Mexican Studies, 287–304.

Norman, Laura M., Angela Donelson, Edwin Pfeifer, and Alven H. Lam. 2006. “Colonia Development and Land Use Change in Ambos Nogales, United States - Mexican Border.” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2006-1112: 121. 

Norman, L., Gishey, M., Gass, L., Yanites, B., Pfeifer, E., Simms, R., & Ahlbrandt, R. (2006). Processed 1938 Aerial Photography for Selected Areas of the Lower Colorado River, Southwestern United States. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2006-1141, 116. (

Parcher, J.W., L.M. Norman, D.M. Papoulias, J.E. Stefanov, Z.D. Wilson, W.R. Page, and R.H. Gary. 2006.Developing a Binational Geodatabase to Examine Environmental Health and Quality-of-Life Issues Along the U. S.-Mexico Border. GSDI Association, National Land Survey of Finland Opastinsilta 12-C Helsinki 00521 Finland.



Norman, Laura M. 2005. “Modeling Land Use Change and Associate Water Quality Impacts in the Ambos Nogales Watershed, United States-Mexico Border”. THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA.



Norman, Laura M., Angela J. Donelson, Edwin Pfeifer, Alven H. Lam, and Kenneth J. Osborn. 2004. “Analyses of Urban Sprawl and Colonias Development in Douglas, Arizona & Agua Prieta, Sonora on the US-Mexico Border; A Process Application Using GIS and Remote Sensing.” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1212.

Norman, Laura M., D. Phillip Guertin, D.P. Hernández, A.S. Barnett, and Kelly Ashton-Reis. 2004. “Binational Digital Soils Map of the Ambos Nogales Watershed, Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico.” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1335.

Norman, Laura M., J.W. Parcher, and Alven H. Lam. 2004. “Monitoring Colonias Along the United States Mexico Border.” U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet USGS FS 2004-3070 –Colonias.



Brady, Laura M., Floyd Gray, Mario Castaneda, Mark Bultman, and Karen Sue Bolm. 2002. “Preliminary United States - Mexico Border Watershed Analysis, Twin Cities Area Of Nogales, Arizona And Nogales, Sonora.” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report OF 02-112.

Norman, L., C. Wissler, D.P. Guertin, and F. Gray. 2002. “Digital Soils Survey Map of the Patagonia Mountains, Arizona.” Open-File Report-US Geological Survey (02-324) Reston: US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey 24.



Brady, Laura M., Floyd Gray, Craig Wissler, and D. Phillip Guertin. 2001. “Spatial Variability of Sediment Erosion Processes Using GIS Analysis Within Watersheds in a Historically Mined Region, Patagonia Mountains, Arizona.” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-267.



Brady, Laura M. 2000. “GIS Analysis of Spatial Variability of Contaminated Watershed Components in a Historically Mined Region, Basin And Range Province, Southeast Arizona”. Master thesis, Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona.

Gray, Floyd, Laura M. Brady, Kerry Caruthers, Ailiang Gu, C. Velex, Karen Sue Bolm, Maurice Chaffee, and Laurie Wirt. 2000. USDA Forest Service Preliminary Assessment (PA) Report on the Alum Gulch-Flux Canyon Watershed Within the Northern Patagonia Mountains, Southeastern Arizona. U.S. Geological Survey Administrative Report.