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Army Corps hydrologist named new director of NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
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Army Corps hydrologist named new director of NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Deborah H. Lee will bring extensive experience with Great Lakes water resource research and management

Deborah H. Lee, the chief of water management for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, has been named the new director of NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL). Lee is slated to begin on December 1, 2014.

Lee has more than 25 years of professional experience as a hydrologist in water resources research and management at the Army Corps and NOAA. She worked as a hydrologist from 1991 to 1998 at GLERL and from 1998 to 2001 at NOAA’s National Weather Service Ohio River Forecast Center.

“Leading the Great Lakes Research Laboratory is an important responsibility for NOAA and the Nation,” said Craig McLean, NOAA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. “We are pleased to have Debbie Lee bring her years of experience in Great Lakes water resource research and management and her talents for collaborating to NOAA’s Great Lakes Lab.”

As part of NOAA’s larger mission of providing environmental intelligence to the Nation, GLERL conducts innovative research on the dynamic environment and ecosystems of the Great Lakes. This research is provided to local, regional, national and Canadian resource managers as well as the general public to help inform public policy decisions for safe and sustainable Great Lakes natural resources, ecosystems and communities that depend on the lakes for economic and environmental well-being.

Lee is a licensed professional engineer, certified professional hydrologist, diplomat of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers and a past member of its board of trustees. She has received multiple awards,  including the the U.S. Army’s Superior Civilian Service Award,  certificates of appreciation from the International Joint Commission and Mississippi River Commission, International Joint Commission Award of Merit for Professional Contribution and the Boggess Award for Best Paper from the American Water Resources Association. Her paper focused on climate change in the Great Lakes.

Lee received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hydraulics from Ohio State University.

In announcing the new director of GLERL, McLean, extended his thanks to John Bratton, deputy director of GLERL, for his strong leadership as acting director of GLERL for the past year. A recent highlight of Bratton’s leadership was NOAA’s forecasting and response to the Toledo drinking water crisis, which was triggered by a harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie this August. Bratton will continue to serve as deputy director of GLERL.

For more information please contact Monica Allen, director of public affairs for NOAA Research at 301-734-1123 or by email at

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Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.


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