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
Importing an Arctic iceberg for freshwater? Painting brown lawns green? California has had some creative ideas for droughts in the past.
Utilities find that nothing drives water savings quite like giving you a peek at your neighbors' habits.
Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan is now open for public comment. State officials say the water supply for 25 million Californians from the Bay Area to San Diego is at stake, as is the health of the largest estuary on the West Coast. But before it can move forward, the project needs money and buy-in from wary water district managers and skeptical federal regulators.
California's $25 billion fix for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta depends on making wildlife groups and water users happy. With the latest release of the state's plan, it's looking harder to do both.
The debate over hydraulic fracturing in California is heating up as oil and gas regulators release draft rules for the controversial oil extraction technique.
A new cap on the number of crab traps could help Bay Area fishermen--and maybe keep fresh crab in your local market a bit longer.
The Bay Area’s proving to be a trendsetter in yet another way: events that celebrate science. The annual Bay Area Science Festival is getting underway with 50 events over 10 days.
Drivers hit thousands of animals every year on California freeways, often killing the wildlife, and sometimes killing or injuring the human, too. Several western states have built fencing and other infrastructure to help wildlife cross freeways safely, and critics say California could be doing a lot more of the same.
Governor Jerry Brown has approved the first statewide lead bullet ban for hunters, in the hope of helping endangered California condors.
Ferns and new shoots from oak trees are already appearing in the ashes of the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park. But fire ecologists say the long-term recovery of the forest could be hampered if California’s dry weather continues
The Rim Fire is calling attention to a big problem: California’s forests are overloaded with fuel after a century of putting out fires. There’s a new push to use that fuel to make renewable energy, but it's sparked a heated debate.
A team of federal scientists is surveying areas burned by the Rim Fire to identify where the worst erosion danger is. An environmental group says restoration could cost tens of millions of dollars.
By the end of the century, the Bay Area's landscape could look more like Southern California's, raising tough questions for land managers trying to preserve parks and open space.
When you're cooking dinner, the air inside your kitchen can sometimes be just as harmful as smog. Range hoods are designed to capture cooking fumes, but even some expensive models aren’t very effective. Researchers are trying to fix that.
Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey are looking for volunteers in the East Bay to help document a powerful seismic event in mid-August, when a 13-story building on the California State University, East Bay campus will come crashing down, making way for a new, seismically stable replacement.
Regional planners have approved a new land use plan for the Bay Area. Plan Bay Area, as it’s known, is designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent per capita over the next 20 years by focusing development in zones close to downtown areas and transit hubs.
After controversy over a threatened species delayed several large solar projects, state officials are trying to broker an agreement between conservation groups and solar companies on a path forward for renewable energy.
The San Onofre nuclear plant has not operated since January 2012, when a radioactive leak was discovered in one of its generators. The permanent closure could put pressure on California's electrical grid in the long-term. The California Independent System Operator, which manages the grid, does not expect statewide problems with power supply this summer.
Cargo ships must use smaller shipping lanes when approaching San Francisco Bay to keep from hitting whales. At least 20 whales have been killed and 10 whales have been injured or possibly killed off the California coast since the late-80s.