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Bonnie Keeler

Dr. Bonnie Keeler directs the Natural Capital Project at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. Keeler leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers with a shared desire to solve complex environmental problems outside the walls of the academy. In collaboration with leaders from the private and public sectors, the Natural Capital Project has raised awareness of the true costs and benefits of environmental decisions at local to regional scales, developed models and tools to support better land and water management, and advanced the research and implementation of nature-based solutions around the world.

Keeler’s particular expertise is in better understanding the economic value of water, including the role of clean water in supporting recreation, public health and sustainable development. She also oversees the Natural Capital Project’s livable cities initiative, which aims to mainstream the value of nature in city and regional planning. Keeler has advanced degrees in Ecology and Natural Resources Science and Management, both from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Northfield, Minnesota, with her husband, son, and a rotating collection of pets.

Selected publications

Keeler, B.L., R. Chaplin-Kramer, A.D. Guerry, P.F.E. Addison, C. Bettigole, I.C. Burke, L. Chambliss, C. Darimont, B. Gentry, D.R Gordon, J.J. Hellmann, P. Kareiva, S. Monfort, L. Olander, H.P. Possingham, T. Profeta, C. Slotterback, E. Sterling, T. Ticktin, A.J. Travis, B. Vira, C. Young. 2017. Society is ready for a new kind of science – Is academia? BioScience. In press.

Keeler, B.L., J. Gourevitch, S. Polasky, F. Isbell, C. Tessum, J. Hill, J. Marshall. 2016. The social cost of nitrogen. Science Advances. Vol 2. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1600219.

Keeler, B., S. Wood, S. Polasky, C. Kling, C. Filstrup, J. Downing. 2015. Recreational demand for clean water: Evidence from geotagged photographs by visitors to lakes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 10.1890/140124.

Keeler, B. and S. Polasky. 2014. Land-use change and costs to rural households: A case study in groundwater nitrate contamination. Environmental Research Letters. 9: 074002.

Guswa, A.J., K. Brauman, C. Brown, P. Hamel, B. Keeler, S. Stratton Sayre. 2014. Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities for Hydrologic Modeling to Support Decision Making. Water Resources Research. 50: 4535–4544.

Keeler, B., S. Polasky, K. Brauman, K. Johnson, J. Finlay, A. O’Neill, K. Kovacs, B. Dalzell. 2012. Linking water quality and human well-being for improved assessment and valuation of ecosystem services. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.1215991109.

Polasky, S., S. Carpenter, C. Folke, and B. Keeler. 2011. Decision-making under great uncertainty: environmental management in an era of global change. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 26: 398-404.

Keeler, B., S. Wood, S. Polasky, C. Kling, C. Filstrup, J. Downing. 2015. Recreational demand for clean water: Evidence from geotagged photographs by visitors to lakes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 10.1890/140124.

Keeler, B. and S. Polasky. 2014. Land-use change and costs to rural households: A case study in groundwater nitrate contamination. Environmental Research Letters. 9: 074002.

Guswa, A.J., K. Brauman, C. Brown, P. Hamel, B. Keeler, S. Stratton Sayre. 2014. Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities for Hydrologic Modeling to Support Decision Making. Water Resources Research. 50: 4535–4544.

Keeler, B., S. Polasky, K. Brauman, K. Johnson, J. Finlay, A. O’Neill, K. Kovacs, B. Dalzell. 2012. Linking water quality and human well-being for improved assessment and valuation of ecosystem services. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.1215991109.

Polasky, S., S. Carpenter, C. Folke, and B. Keeler. 2011. Decision-making under great uncertainty: environmental management in an era of global change. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 26: 398-404.

Current projects

“Investigating and Enhancing Community Capacity to Promote Ecosystem Services and Human Well-Being in Urban Watersheds.” B. Keeler (PI), K. Derickson (Co-PI), M. Davenport (Co-PI), K. Nelson (Co-PI). Sponsor: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1/15/2017 to 1/15/2020. $600,000.

“Understanding and building capacity to address changing water availability in the upper Corn Belt.” M. Davenport (PI), B. Keeler (Co-PI), K. Brauman (Co-PI), R. Arritt (Co-PI), J. Arbuckle (Co-PI). 5/1/2017 to 5/1/2020. $500,000.

“Drivers and Feedbacks in the Food-Energy-Water System for Integrated Management of Agricultural Landscapes.” E. Foufoula (PI), B. Keeler (Co-PI), Steve Polasky (Co-PI). Sponsor: National Science Foundation. 3/1/2016 to 12/31/2018. $290,000.

“Translation of Urban Nature Literature Reviews into Guidance for Urban Leaders.” B. Keeler [PI]. Sponsor: The Nature Conservancy. 5/1/2017 to 5/1/2019. $67,000.

“What are the public benefits of protecting source water?” B. Keeler (PI), M. Davenport (Co-PI). Sponsor: Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. 7/2017 to 6/2019. $320,000.

“Mainstreaming the value of clean water in the Mississippi River Basin.” B. Keeler (PI). Sponsor: The McKnight Family Foundation. 9/1/2016 to 8/31/2018. $100,000.

“Sustainable Development: Architecture and planning within the ecological footprint of one planet.” R. Graves (PI) and B. Keeler (Co-PI). Sponsor: University of Minnesota Provost Office Grand Challenges Exploratory Research Grant. 9/1/2016 to 8/31/2017. $110,000.

“Ecosystem Services and Restoration: Building capacity and magnifying impact.” B.Keeler (PI). Sponsor: International Union for the Conservation of Nature. 5/10/16 to 12/31/2017. $200,000.

“Informed water management: Mapping scarcity, threats, and values.” B. Keeler (PI), K. Brauman (Co-PI) and T. Twine (Co-PI). Sponsor: Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. 7/2015 to 6/2018.

“Data-Intensive Analysis & Modeling for Socio-Environmental Synthesis pursuit.” B. Keeler (Co-PI) and Spencer Wood (Co-PI). Sponsor: National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center [SESYNC] 6/2015 to 6/2017.

“Sustainable Cities: Building an integrated research network to incorporate natural capital into design of urban systems.” B. Keeler (Co-PI), S. Polasky (Co-PI) and S. Hobbie (Co-PI). Sponsor: Institute on the Environment Project Grant. 6/2014 to 9/2017.

“Conservation Easement Assessment and Valuation System.” M. Kilgore (PI), B. Keeler (C0-PI), S. Taff (Co-PI) and S. Polasky (Co-PI). Sponsor: Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. 7/2015 to 12/2017.