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Lauren Sommer

Lauren Sommer
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)

The California Report | May 13, 2015 8:50 AM
Dredging of Waterways Puts Dwindling Delta Smelt Population at Risk of Extinction

The Delta smelt has been on the endangered species list for decades, and it's long been at the center of California's water wars. It lives in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where the state gets most of its water. Now, the smelt is close to extinction. And that's bringing attention to anything that could it, including something rarely discussed: the dredging of Delta waterways for big cargo ships.

The California Report | Dec 12, 2014 4:30 PM
How California's Water Rights Make It Tough to Manage Drought

This week's torrential storms have made a dent in the state's water deficit, but as much as we'd like to think otherwise, we're still a long way from ending this nasty drought. Over the last year, the scarcity of precipitation has divided the state into two camps -- those who got all their usual water supply, and those who got none. It's all tied to California's invisible system of water rights, a system some say is unfair.

The California Report | Nov 6, 2014 8:50 AM
Fracking Bans Pass in 2 Counties, But Not Santa Barbara

Residents in San Benito and Mendocino counties have voted to ban hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," the controversial oil production technique. Opponents of fracking hope these types of bans spread to other counties. But in Santa Barbara County where oil is well-established, the energy industry stepped in to defeat a ban.

The California Report | Oct 10, 2014 4:30 PM
Monitoring Groundwater Concerns in the Central Valley

Fracking has stirred up huge controversy in places like North Dakota and West Virginia. Concerns about environmental damage, sudden development in rural communities, and so on. But it's also created lots of jobs in those places -- and it's generated lots of domestic energy. But some are calling for a moratorium on fracking in California -- something Gov. Jerry Brown has rejected. But there are some new temporary regulations in place. And in parts of state, some say these rules are long overdue. That's particularly true when it comes to concerns over possible impacts on groundwater. KQED Science visited one small town where that's happening, but it doesn't really look like oil country at first glance.

The California Report | Sep 16, 2014 8:50 AM
Gov. Brown to Sign Bills Regulating Groundwater

On Tuesday in Sacramento, Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign a historic package of bills setting the stage for state regulation of groundwater use -- if local agencies don't do it first. While the current drought helped move this package of bills through the Legislature, the impact will role out over a number of years.

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