KQED Radio Staff
Science and Environment Reporter
Lauren is a radio reporter for KQED Science, specializing in water, energy and the environment. 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. She has been recognized by the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Edward R. Murrow Awards and is a recipient of the Harold Gilliam Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting. Lauren has a degree from Cornell University and is originally from the Bay Area. She is also a regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
Stories (163 archives)
In the rush to close up this year's session, the state Legislature passed a raft of bills covering everything from a statewide plastic bag ban to Hollywood tax credits. One could be forgiven for failing to notice a trio of bills on groundwater -- but they constitute an earth-shaking shift in California water policy, one of the biggest in decades.
Last year's Rim Fire burned 257,000 acres in and around Yosemite. It was one of the largest fires in California history, and it left a lot of dead trees. Later this week, the U.S. Forest Service is expected to announce it will let logging companies cut down some of those trees. But the decision is controversial.
As reservoir levels dwindle, many regions are pumping water from underground. On the Central Coast, that's causing ocean water to pollute underground aquifers. The seawater is making groundwater unusable for crops like strawberries.
Opponents of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have pushed for a statewide moratorium on the controversial oil production technique. But those efforts haven't gotten far, so now, activists are taking the fight to the local level. KQED Science reporter Lauren Sommer tells us about several California counties where voters will decide the future of fracking in November
The drought is putting a lot of California's farmers in crisis this year. But for those who have water, it can be a windfall. Prices for water are soaring, and some growers are pumping out their groundwater and selling it. Some call it "groundwater mining" -- and fights are breaking out over concerns that it might threaten California's already stressed aquifers.