Lauren is a radio reporter covering environment, water, and energy for KQED Science. As part of her day job, she has scaled Sierra Nevada peaks, run from charging elephant seals, and desperately tried to get her sea legs - all in pursuit of good radio. Her work has appeared on Marketplace, Living on Earth, and NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. You can find her on Twitter at @lesommer.
Lauren Sommer's Latest Posts
Starting today, the meter is running for cities trying to meet the governor’s strict new water conservation targets. And the new restrictions are already having “ripple” effects: some businesses are drying up, while others are cashing in on the drought.
The tiny Delta smelt is famous for being a target in California's water wars, but it's dangerously close to extinction. That's bringing attention to anything that could harm the fish, including something rarely discussed: dredging Delta waterways for big cargo ships.
Here’s the thing: Water rights in California are based on who got there first. It’s as if you had to line up with all your coworkers to get a cup of coffee at work, and maybe the pot’s empty when the new guy gets to the front. Some are asking, in a drought like the one we’ve been having, is that really fair?
They may sound like faulty plumbing, but male northern elephant seals have a unique communication system that's all about reputation.
Solar companies in California have long been able to tell homeowners they can save a lot of money on power bills by going solar. Now PG&E is proposing a rate change the company says will be more fair for everyone. But solar companies say it’s simply an attack on their industry.
Passage of two out of three local measures may just set the stage for next battle.
Startling maps in a new report on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta show the dramatic loss of marshlands that once supported a vast array of wildlife.
The drought is putting a spotlight on water use around California, including for hydraulic fracturing. How much water does fracking use and will it increase as companies tap into the Monterey Shale, estimated to be the largest oil resource in country?
Activists are hoping local residents will do what state legislators haven’t done -- shut down the controversial oil production technique known as hydraulic fracturing.
California water districts are eyeing a potential new source of water: trees. After a century of fire suppression, Sierra Nevada forests are more dense than ever before. And those pine trees are taking up a lot of water that might otherwise run off into California rivers.
One of the key fisheries on the West Coast is coming back after years of decline.
The era of unlimited groundwater pumping in California could be ending. A package of bills would require local agencies to restore over-pumped aquifers.
Later this week, the U.S. Forest Service will release plans to allow logging companies to harvest some of the dead trees. Some environmental groups say it would destroy important wildlife habitat.
Reforestation is common after large fires in the West, but some scientists say it’s time to rethink how forests are replanted.
Stanford launches a major investigation of the state's dwindling groundwater resources and finds "alarming" gaps.
State lawmakers approved the delay in late June, and at the same time tightened up the environmental review process for fracking permits.
Marbled murrelets are rare seabirds that lay just one egg a year, and those eggs are a favorite food item for another bird: Steller’s jays. Scientists are hoping to trick the jays into avoiding the murrelet eggs using decoy eggs with a rude surprise inside.
Fights are breaking out over controversial water sales. Some farmers say they need the water to keep trees alive, while others say groundwater pumping depletes supplies for neighboring farms, and could threaten California's already-stressed aquifers.
Two competing camps have emerged about how to boost California's water supplies during dry times: conserve more water or build more water storage.
Though there are no wild wolves in California, state officials, expecting them to get here eventually, voted to protect them.