Environment Reporting

I left a career as a geologist because on job sites I was barred from communicating with community members about contamination levels in their water, soil, and air. As a journalist, that professional experience makes my environment coverage stand out -- I can decode complex lab reports, technical maps, and regulatory reports. 


I've reported extensively on environmental impacts throughout the Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz County, and the Bay Area. I've written on issues such as climate change, air and water quality, ocean health, and environmental justice. As a result of an investigation I reported on air pollution in Southeast LA, state funding was rerouted to install air filters in metal processing plants. Those filters will improve local air quality.

I've also facilitated numerous community science workshops and worked with residents to create environmental sampling plans in their neighborhoods. Through my reporting I aim to empower communities with crucial information, but also amplify their concerns, and facilitate conversations that might yield solutions. 


Water Samples
Santa Cruz County Drinking Water Takes A Hit After Wildfire

After a traumatic month, now some Northern Santa Cruz County residents are dealing with the anxiety that their water could be contaminated. KAZU, Sept.  20, 2020. 

Metal polluted air puts Los Angeles residents at risk

​In southeast Los Angeles, metal processing facilities emit toxic steam next to homes, schools and parks. And low-income residents are paying the price.  UCSC Science Notes, Oct. 30, 2019.

EPA, California Consider Regulation of Chemicals Found in Ski Gloves and Frying Pans Showing Up in US Waterways

I was one of the first reporters in the state to look into PFAS, a class of  chemicals, that environmentalists have rung the alarm on. KQED, Feb. 9, 2019.

Chemical Plant
California Bill on PFAS Chemicals Advances, But in Watered Down Form

A new law will require water providers to report if up to 18 different types of PFAS chemicals are present in drinking water supplies. But the original bill would have forced suppliers to test and report for the entire class of PFAS. KQED, June 21, 2019.

Air Pressure
Knowing When to Spare the Air

Monterey’s coastal geography and agriculturally dominated landscape cultivates some of the cleanest air in the country. But, the county is not immune to drops in air quality from smoke, especially during fire season, and cold winter months. The Monterey Herald, Nov. 5, 2018. 

Golden Gate Bridge
Bay Area Air Quality Takes a Hit in Latest Report

For the first time in the American Lung Association's annual State of the Air report's 20-year history, no Bay Area counties received an "A" grade for daily particle pollution, a measure of how much harmful exhaust, dust and ash are in the air.  KQED,  Apr. 24, 2019.


Aerial View of Curved River
A Checkup On California's Efforts To Combat Climate Change

California has some of the most aggressive climate policies in the country. The state has had both successes and challenges in meeting its ambitious climate goals. My accountability reporting on California’s efforts to combat climate change was featured nationally. NPR, Mar. 14, 2020.

Buffing a Car
Gas Station Converts To Electric Charging Station And Speeds Ahead Of Curve

As the electric car industry ramps up, one gas station in Takoma Park, Md., has already changed lanes. The owner hopes to motivate other stations to make the shift. NPR, Oct. 26, 2019.

Dry Soil
Northern Hemisphere heat waves covering more area than before

Heat waves in the Northern Hemisphere have gotten more expansive in recent decades, covering 25% more area now than they did in the 1980s, according to new research. GeoSpace, Dec. 20, 2018.

Threat to Sea Life as Greenhouse Gases Drift Offshore

Winds carrying greenhouse gases can travel up to 60 miles offshore, adding significantly more carbon dioxide into the ocean than previously estimated, according to new research from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. KQED, Apr. 29, 2019.

Fixing a Pipe
Sea-level rise could cut off wastewater service to millions in U.S.

With just 30 centimeters of sea-level rise, roughly 4 million people in the U.S. could lose access to municipal wastewater services — services that allow three-quarters of America to run the tap and flush the toilet. Earth Magazine,  Jun. 21, 2018.

Driftwood reveals ancient Arctic currents and sea-ice levels

Researchers looked at over 900 pieces of ancient driftwood to learn how sea ice in the arctic was moved, and melted by ocean currents in the last 12,000 years. Dec. 28, 2017, Earth Magazine.


melson hemp.jpg
Budding Hemp Farmers Struggle To Find Success In The 'Green Rush'

CBD products are found everywhere from gas stations to drug stores. A record number of farmers are growing hemp for CBD this year, but making money has proved challenging. NPR, Nov. 16, 2019.

Gardens with too many nonnative plants threaten populations of insect-eating birds

Researchers teamed up with community scientists to explore how nonnative plants in yards and gardens affect the breeding success of chickadees, a common insect-eating bird in the U.S. Mongabay, Dec. 26, 2018.

Image by Zetong Li
Elkhorn Slough Foundation makes progress on Sand Hill Farm

To heal the once-heavily-farmed landscape of Sand Hill, the foundation is planting natives, smoothing steep slopes, and implementing catch basins. The Monterey Herald,  Nov. 26, 2018.

Image by Afdhal N.
A new chapter for Elkhorn Slough

Elkhorn Slough has been named one of 39 Wetlands of International Importance. The Monterey Herald, Oct. 7, 2018. 

One Increasingly Popular Way to Control Floods: Let the Water Come

​California is looking to floodplains as a way to protect from flood damage, and store water. KQED, Mar. 19, 2019.

Planting Plants
SFPUC Growing Plants in Hospital-Like Nursery to Protect Water Quality

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is trying something different at its new native plant nursery in Sunol. To avoid infecting plants, the botanists here take precautions more akin to a laboratory than a commercial nursery. KQED, June 14, 2019

California Coast

Fishing Net
As Moss Landing reinvents itself, fishing fades into the background

As Moss Landing gains international status for marine research, its iconic fishing industry wanes. The Mercury News, the EastBay Times, The Monterey Herald, and The Santa Cruz Sentinel, Dec. 30, 2018.

Fish Fillet
Can sustainably caught swordfish make waves on the Central Coast?

With new clean-fishing gear technology on the horizon, some think swordfish in California could appear on dinner plates once more. Published in the EastBay Times, The Mercury News, The Monterey Herald and The Santa Cruz Sentinel, Dec. 30, 2018.

Sea Lion Yawning
Sea lions battle return of deadly disease

More than 220 California sea lions, 73 from Monterey County, have been hit by a kidney infection that can be fatal in the second most severe outbreak in recorded history. The Monterey Herald, Oct. 26, 2018


Severe West Marin Drought Comes Early
00:00 / 01:08
Microplastics in Monterey Bay
00:00 / 01:04
NDAA Adresses PFAS Contamination
00:00 / 01:15
D.O.D. Faces Pressure to Regulate PFAS
00:00 / 01:21
CA Makes Progress Regulating PFAS in Drinking Water
00:00 / 00:58
Gray Whale Ship Strike
00:00 / 01:11