Laura Merrick

Recent retirement as faculty member in the ISU Agronomy Department. Currently non-degree graduate student at the University of Iowa focused on environmental and public health in relation to water quality. Interim Chair of Ioway Creek Watershed Coalition, a 20+ year old citizen-science water quality monitoring group in central Iowa.

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Amy Kaleita

Amy Kaleita is Professor and Associate Chair for Teaching in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State. Holding a teaching and research appointment, Amy Kaleita works in the area of information technologies for precision conservation. Her research program includes design of sensing and monitoring systems for the agricultural fields and watersheds, and the utilization of data from such systems in watershed modeling and decision support. In her spare time, Amy is an avid reader, averaging 40-some books per year for pleasure. 

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Rick Cruse

Rick Cruse is a professor in the Department of Agronomy and director of the Iowa Water Center.  As director, Rick addresses administrative needs of the Center and is responsible for successful Center operations; he has been Director of the Iowa Water Center since 2006.  He served as president of the National Institutes for Water Resources from 2015 – 2016, the professional organization representing the 54 Water Resources Research Institutes across the US and US territories.  Rick co-leads the Daily Erosion Project with his primary research focus of soil erosion and water runoff.  His passion is the out-of-doors and thrives on getting his five grand daughters involved with hunting and fishing.

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Andrea Wagner

Andrea Wagner is a 3rd year master’s student in the Community and Regional Planning and Sustainable Agriculture dual degree program at Iowa State University. Currently, she is conducting a comparative analysis of six of Iowa’s watershed groups. This research focuses on the social infrastructure of the groups, as well as the structure and function relationship between watershed organizations and the communities of which they are a part, with an aim to improve conservation implementation at the watershed scale. This work is supported by a grant from the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, as well as by the Iowa Water Center. Andrea lives in Ames with her husband and dog, where they enjoy the many parks the city has to offer.

William Beck

Billy Beck is the Extension Forestry Specialist (State Specialist) with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and is responsible for forestry education and extension programming across all of Iowa’s 99 counties. He also holds research and teaching appointments in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management. His research and extension programming focus heavily on the impacts that trees, forests, and forest / riparian management have on water quality and flood mitigation within Midwestern watersheds. Billy has been with ISUEO since 2019. He holds degrees from Michigan State University (B.S., Forestry), Southern Illinois University (M.S., Forest Hydrology), and Iowa State University (Ph.D., Environmental Science). Billy lives south of Nevada, IA, with his wife, two cats, and one motorcycle.

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Chaoqun Lu

Chaoqun (Crystal) Lu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at ISU. Her research addresses how natural and human disturbances have affected and will affect ecosystem processes, agricultural food production, greenhouse gas fluxes, and nutrient movement from land to water bodies, by using a systems approach, ecosystem modeling, and data-model assimilation. Her current water-related work includes modeling the coupled hydro-biogeochemical cycling, estimating land-to-aquatic nitrogen loading in agriculture-dominated watersheds, and predicting the effectiveness of nutrient reduction practices under the changing climate. Her work has led to 77 peer-reviewed articles in top-tier journals such as Nature, Global Change Biology, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, and so on, with an H-index of 39. Crystal lives in Ames with her husband, two daughters, and a dog.

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Kristie Franz

Dr. Kristie Franz is a Professor of Hydrology and Chair of the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences at Iowa State University.  She teaches courses in surface water hydrology, water resources, and hydrologic modeling and maintains an active research program. Kristie has been investigating streamflow prediction for nearly 20 years with the goal of improving forecasting methods for more accurate and informative hydrologic forecasts. Her work also includes advancing the understanding and modeling of the coupled effects of climate and human impacts on watershed processes, including the development and application of a socio-hydrologic model to explore land and water management under future climate conditions. Other recent work includes an interdisciplinary effort to foster interaction between stakeholders through use of an agent-based model designed to support collaborative action towards improving watershed conditions. She holds a MS in Hydrology and Water Resources from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Irvine. Kristie lives in north Ames with her husband and two kids in a house that sits on one of the highest points above the Skunk River floodplain in the area.

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