Our Vision

Natural and conventional infrastructure working together for thriving communities, businesses and natural systems.


  • Advance the integration of natural and conventional infrastructure systems to strengthen long term resilience to flooding, sea level rise, drought and other disruptions
  • Enable communities, businesses and institutions to deliver equitable infrastructure strategies for enhanced social, economic and environmental benefits
  • Support informed decision making through interdisciplinary expertise, cutting edge tools and techniques, holistic education and collaborative partnerships

Who we are

We’re working toward a more equitable, resilient future by using interdisciplinary research teams to discover innovative ways to combine natural and conventional infrastructure.

Infrastructure is the backbone of our society: it provides our country with the water we drink, roads we drive on, buildings we live in. It delivers electricity to our houses, keeps our homes free of waste, and protects our communities from storms.

Conventional infrastructure includes concrete structures like bridges, dams, and seawalls.

IRIS expands the definition of infrastructure to include natural systems, including the forests the purify our air and drinking water, barrier islands and natural shorelines that protect our communities from storms, and marshes, which absorb carbon dioxide and toxins and prevent flooding.

Our research is designed to be put directly in the hands of our stakeholders, to be used as tools in creating real-world change.

Our researchers come from over 10 disciplines at the University of Georgia, including engineering, sociology, ecology, and climatology, just to name a few. We use our combined talents to create infrastructure solutions that help communities and businesses in real ways.

Our Director

Meet Dr. Brian Bledsoe, the IRIS Director. Brian has over 25 years of experience as an engineer, hydrologist, and environmental scientist in the private and public sectors. Before entering the professorate, he worked in the private sector as a consulting engineer and surveyor, and for the State of North Carolina as a watershed restoration specialist and state nonpoint source program coordinator. Brian’s research is focused on the interface of hydrology, ecology, and urban water sustainability with an emphasis on natural infrastructure, including streams, floodplains, and stormwater systems.

Other IRIS leaders include:

Amy Rosemond

Associate Director of Education, Equity, and Inclusion


Marshall Shepherd

Associate Director of Climate Science and Outreach


Brock Woodson

Associate Director of Engineering and Natural Sciences



Associate Director of Policy and Planning


Our operations staff includes:


Business Manager

Bacon Talati

Director of Operations

Sarah Buckleitner