The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) is proud to name Laura Keefer as the Deputy Director of the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).
Keefer has more than 37 years of experience in multi-scale watershed monitoring and assessments of hydrology, nutrients and sediment for many Illinois watersheds, as well as studying erosion and sedimentation processes related to stream channel stability issues.
"I'm excited to continue in this new capacity with the Water Survey and to help strengthen and deepen the Survey's research capabilities to address societal water resource needs in our changing world," said Keefer, "In over 125 years of the Water Survey's existence, it has been the foundation of understanding and exploration of Illinois' water resources. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in contributing to the Water Survey's next 125 years."
In addition to her role as Deputy Director, Keefer serves as the Illinois State Hydrologist, providing science-based information on watersheds, rivers, groundwater, and other state water resources and leverages the expertise of PRI staff on statewide water issues, such as flooding and contamination. Laura has represented the Water Survey as an advisor on dozens of committees ranging from watershed planning to state and federal interagency task forces to resolve hydrologic, sediment, and nutrient watershed issues.
Prior to this appointment, Keefer served as head of the Water Survey’s Watershed Science Section for nine years. Laura holds two degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; B.S. in Geology and M.S. in Geography -Fluvial Geomorphology.
Keefer was one of several members of the Water Survey to update the 2022 Illinois State Water Plan. Laura was recently appointed by Gov. Pritzker as the Prairie Research Institute - Illinois State Water Survey member to the Rivers of Illinois Coordinating Council. The council reviews and advocates activities and programs related to the rivers and watersheds of Illinois and makes recommendations to enhance the ecology and economy of the state’s rivers. The council is chaired by Lieutenant Governor Stratton and is composed of members of the public, state and federal agency personnel, business representatives, and representatives of river-related nonprofit organizations.
"We thank her for her many years of demonstrated leadership and look forward to the breadth of professionalism and experience she will bring to ISWS as Deputy Director," said Kevin OBrien, Director of the ISWS and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC).