Faculty Directory
William M. Miller


Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA

S.M. Chemical Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, MA

B.S. Chemical Engineering (Hons), Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

Research Interests

  • As part of the DOE Urban Integrated Field Laboratory CROCUS (Community Research on Climate & Urban Science) project led by Argonne National Lab and other projects funded by the Walder Foundation and National Science Foundation (NSF), my colleagues and I are installing hydrological and biogeochemical sensors in Chicago and its suburbs to quantify the benefits of nature-based solutions for addressing climate change with a focus on mitigating flooding from stormwater. Current and planned sensor locations include Scott Hall on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, the future site of the Garfield Park Eco-Orchard, the Academy for Global Citizenship charter school in Garfield Ridge, Indian Boundary Prairies in Markham, and Blacks in Green properties in West Woodlawn.
  • The increasing pace of environmental change, especially climate change, exacerbates existing threats to the livelihoods and wellbeing of many Native American nations across the United States. For example, climate change exacerbates the effects that invasive species, mining, and development have on critical ecosystems that provide food, water, and cultural security for Indigenous Peoples. Working with tribal partners, two NSF-funded tribally-driven projects adopt an integrative framework to synthesize traditional and scientific knowledge to advance innovations in three areas: (1) Environmental Science: the project is deploying state-of-the-art sensing platforms to continuously measure water and ecosystems conditions, and to assess the effects of climate change, mining contaminants, and oil/gas pipeline failures on nutritionally and culturally important and environmentally sensitive manoomin (wild rice) and associated wetland ecosystems; (2) Governance: the project will assess the effects of how scientific knowledge generated through a traditional knowledge framework impacts tribal planning and governance by co-producing and evaluating culturally appropriate resilience indicators for anticipating, responding to, and mitigating acute and chronic socio-ecological perturbations; and (3) Community Impact: the project will co-develop and deploy a dynamic, integrated cyberinfrastructure platform that connects diverse end-users with data and analyses to examine how access to data strengthens tribal sovereignty and resilience. I co-lead the community engagement and education efforts and contribute to environmental science.
  • I am part of the Chicago Wilderness Alliance (CWA) team developing a Climate Action Plan for People and Nature to complement climate action plans developed by the City of Chicago and regional agencies. In 2010, the CWA published The Chicago Wilderness Climate Action Plan for Nature (CAPN), which was aimed at addressing the significant role of, and threats to, regional natural area conservation in the face of climate change. Now, in 2024, it is time to update and reevaluate CAPN – and in the process strengthen its commitments to nature and emphasize the interconnections between people and nature. The CWA is working to address climate change and its impacts in the Chicago Wilderness region by engaging a diverse array of communities and stakeholders to reduce regional emissions, institute equitable solutions that build climate resilience, and expand the suite of nature-based mitigation and adaptation activities. In updating CAPN, the CWA recognizes the need to co-create an inclusive and equitable climate strategy to accelerate impactful nature-based solutions for nature and people across the CWA Region.

Selected Publications

"Energy Sprawl or Energy Efficiency: Climate Policy Impacts on Natural Habitat for the United States of America," R.I. McDonald, J. Fargione, J. Kiesecker, W.M. Miller, and J. Powell, PLoS ONE, 4: e6802 (11 pages) (2009).

"Energy, Water and Fish: Biodiversity Impacts of Energy-Sector Water Demand in the United States Depend on Efficiency and Policy Measures," R.I. McDonald, J.D. Olden, J.J. Opperman, W.M. Miller, J. Fargione, C. Revenga; J.V. Higgins, and J. Powell, PLoS ONE, 7: e50219 (17 pages) (2012).

“Characterization of soil profiles and elemental concentrations reveals deposition of heavy metals and phosphorus in a Chicago-area nature preserve, Gensburg Markham Prairie,” L.M. Hernandez Gonzalez, V.A. Rivera, C.B. Phillips, L.A. Haug, S.L. Hatch, L. Yeager, H. Chang, J. Alvarez, K.J. Gnaedinger, W.M. Miller, A.I. Packman, J. Soils and Sediments, 19:3817-3831 (2019).

“A systematic review of the human health and social well‐being outcomes of green infrastructure for stormwater and flood management,” V. Venkataramanan, A.I. Packman, D.R. Peters, D. Lopez, D.J. McCuskey, R.I. McDonald, W.M. Miller, S.L. Young, J. Environmental Management, 246:868-880 (2019).

“Soil hydrology drives ecological niche differentiation in a native prairie microbiome,” J.S. Griffin, L.A. Haug, V.A. Rivera, L.M. Hernandez Gonzalez, J.J. Kelly, W.M. Miller, G.F. Wells, A.I. Packman, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Volume 96, Issue 1, January 2020, fiz163, https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiz163 (2020) (Editor’s Choice article).

“Knowledge, attitudes, intentions, and behavior related to green infrastructure for flood management: A systematic literature review,” V. Venkataramanan, D. Lopez, D.J. McCuskey, D. Kiefus, R.I. McDonald, W.M. Miller, A.I. Packman, S.L. Young, Science of the Total Environment 720:137606 (2020).

“Green roof vegetation management alters potential for water quality and temperature mitigation,” V. Ouellet*, K. Khamis*, D. Croghan, L.M. Hernandez Gonzalez, V.A. Rivera, C.B. Phillips, A.I. Packman, W.M. Miller, R.G. Hawke, D.M. Hannah, S. Krause, Ecohydrology, 14(6):2321, DOI: 10.1002/eco.2321 (2021).

“Waking from Paralysis: Revitalizing Conceptions of Climate Knowledge and Justice for More Effective Climate Action,” K.R. Marion Suiseeya, M.G. O’Connell, E. Leoso, M.S.B.N. Defoe, A. Anderson, M. Bang, P. Beckman, A.-M. Boyer, J. Dunn, J. Gilbert, J. Hester, D.E. Horton, D.B. Jennings, P. Kebec, N.C. Loeb, P. Loew, W.M. Miller, K. Moffitt, A.I. Packman, M.W. Price, B. Redbird, J. Rogers, R. Sankaran, J. Schwoch, P. Silas, W. Twardowski, N. Zerega, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 700:166-182, DOI: 10.1177/00027162221095495 (2022).

“A Versatile Optimization Framework for Sustainable Post-Disaster Building Reconstruction,” N. Izadinia*, E. Ramyar*, M. Alzayer, S.H. Carr, G. Cusatis, V. Dwivedi, D.J. Garcia, M. Hettiarachchi, T. Massion, W.M. Miller, A. Waechter, Optimization and Engineering, 24:2079–2114 (2023).

“Road salt intrusion dynamics in an ex-urban native wetland complex,” L.M. Hernandez Gonzalez, V.A. Rivera, D. Akosa, C.B. Phillips, S.L. Hatch, W.M. Miller, A.I. Packman, PLOS Water 2(7):e0000148. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pwat.0000148 (2023).