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Lauren Sommer

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.

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Lauren Sommer's Latest Posts

Why More Trees in the Sierra Mean Less Water for California

KQED Science | September 15, 2014 | 19 Comments

Why More Trees in the Sierra Mean Less Water for California

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.

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West Coast Fish Upgraded to Sustainable Seafood Choice

KQED Science | September 3, 2014 | 0 Comments

West Coast Fish Upgraded to Sustainable Seafood Choice

One of the key fisheries on the West Coast is coming back after years of decline.

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Landmark Groundwater Reform Headed to Governor’s Desk

KQED Science | August 29, 2014 | 1 Comment

Landmark Groundwater Reform Headed to Governor’s Desk

The era of unlimited groundwater pumping in California could be ending. A package of bills would require local agencies to restore over-pumped aquifers.

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After Record-Breaking Rim Fire, Log Trees or Leave Them?

KQED Science | August 26, 2014 | 2 Comments

After Record-Breaking Rim Fire, Log Trees or Leave Them?

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.

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A Year After Rim Fire, Debate Sparks Over Replanting Trees

KQED Science | August 18, 2014 | 1 Comment

A Year After Rim Fire, Debate Sparks Over Replanting Trees

Reforestation is common after large fires in the West, but some scientists say it’s time to rethink how forests are replanted.

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California’s Biggest Water Source Shrouded in Secrecy

KQED Science | July 31, 2014 | 18 Comments

California’s Biggest Water Source Shrouded in Secrecy

Stanford launches a major investigation of the state's dwindling groundwater resources and finds "alarming" gaps.

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Anti-Fracking Activists in California Take Fight to County Ballots

KQED Science | July 14, 2014 | 13 Comments

Anti-Fracking Activists in California Take Fight to County Ballots

Activists are hoping local residents will do what state legislators haven’t done -- shut down the controversial oil production technique known as hydraulic fracturing.

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California’s New Fracking Regulations Delayed Half a Year

KQED Science | July 11, 2014 | 7 Comments

California’s New Fracking Regulations Delayed Half a Year

State lawmakers approved the delay in late June, and at the same time tightened up the environmental review process for fracking permits.

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New Way to Save Endangered Species: Make Predators Puke

KQED Science | July 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

New Way to Save Endangered Species: Make Predators Puke

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.

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As Water Prices Soar, Some Profit From California’s Drought

KQED Science | June 23, 2014 | 3 Comments

As Water Prices Soar, Some Profit From California’s Drought

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.

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Dueling Drought Strategies: Save More Water or Store More Water

KQED Science | June 10, 2014 | 2 Comments

Dueling Drought Strategies: Save More Water or Store More Water

Two competing camps have emerged about how to boost California's water supplies during dry times: conserve more water or build more water storage.

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California to Protect Gray Wolves as Endangered Species

KQED Science | June 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

California to Protect Gray Wolves as Endangered Species

Though there are no wild wolves in California, state officials, expecting them to get here eventually, voted to protect them.

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California’s Monterey Shale: Bonanza or Bust? Nobody Really Knows

KQED Science | May 21, 2014 | 2 Comments

California’s Monterey Shale: Bonanza or Bust? Nobody Really Knows

There's more than meets the eye to the reported reassessment of the state's next big oil play.

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For San Francisco Bone Collector, Skulls Are a Lifelong Love Affair

KQED Science | May 12, 2014 | 1 Comment

For San Francisco Bone Collector, Skulls Are a Lifelong Love Affair

San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences opens a skull exhibit this week, featuring the work of Ray Bandar, a man who has devoted 60 years to cleaning the skulls and bones of some of California's most beloved animals.

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Hikers Use Smartphones to Capture Fire Recovery on Mt. Diablo

KQED Science | April 24, 2014 | 1 Comment

Hikers Use Smartphones to Capture Fire Recovery on Mt. Diablo

A citizen science group is asking hikers to use their smartphones help study how Mt. Diablo State Park is recovering from last year's Morgan Fire.

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In California Drought, Desperation May Make Water Flow Uphill

KQED Science | April 22, 2014 | 4 Comments

In California Drought, Desperation May Make Water Flow Uphill

A 47-mile section of the California Aqueduct, the main artery of the state's water system, could be engineered to flow backward this summer.

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During Long, Dry Summer of Drought, Nobody Wins

KQED Science | April 9, 2014 | 0 Comments

During Long, Dry Summer of Drought, Nobody Wins

Water managers are walking a tightrope this year, balancing three competing needs: how much water to deliver to people and agriculture, how much to provide for wildlife and how much to save for next year, in case it’s just as dry.

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California Farmers Look to Oil Industry for Water

KQED Science | April 7, 2014 | 6 Comments

California Farmers Look to Oil Industry for Water

As water supplies tighten for California farmers, some are looking to an unlikely new source: a water recycling project in one of the state's oldest oil fields.

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How Water and Oil Mix in California

KQED Science | March 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

How Water and Oil Mix in California

California is the third-largest oil producing state in the country. To produce oil, companies deal with massive amounts of water. They need it for hydraulic fracturing, and they produce a lot from underground.

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With Drought, New Scrutiny Over Fracking’s Water Use

KQED Science | March 31, 2014 | 5 Comments

With Drought, New Scrutiny Over Fracking’s Water Use

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?

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