Kirk Siegler

Kirk Siegler is a reporter for NPR's National Desk. In this role he covers Southern California and the West from NPR West's studios in Culver City, CA.

Since joining the national desk in December of 2012, Siegler has covered everything from a dock worker strike at the nation's largest port to an unprecedented manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer wanted for a string of vengeance killings. He's also contributed extensively to the network's coverage on the ongoing national conversation about guns; assignments that have taken him from Newtown, CT, to an inner-city Los Angeles hospital's trauma ward, to rural Wyoming.

Siegler has won numerous Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press Awards for his coverage of Environmental, Political and Business issues in Montana and Colorado. Siegler was a 2010 Science Literacy Project fellow at the University of California-Berkeley and most recently he completed the 2012 Knight/MIT "Food Boot Camp" Fellowship.

Prior to joining NPR, Siegler spent seven years reporting from Colorado, where he became a familiar voice to NPR listeners reporting from Denver for NPR Member Station KUNC. He also spent two years as a reporter and news director at Aspen Public Radio. Siegler got his start in reporting in 2003 covering the Montana Legislature for Montana Public Radio.

Siegler has spent much of his adult life living in the West. He grew up in Missoula, MT and received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is an avid skier and enjoys traveling and visiting his family scattered across the globe.

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5:06am

Thu March 20, 2014
The Salt

Nevada Farmers Hack The Drought By Switching Up The Crops

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:25 pm

An alfalfa farmer on the Duck Valley Reservation in Nevada laser levels a field to more evenly and efficiently distribute water. While alfalfa is still the main crop for many farmers in northern Nevada, some are experimenting with grapes, too.
USDAgov/Flickr

Take a drive around the perimeter of Colby Frey's farm in Nevada and it's clear you're kind of on an island — an oasis of green surrounded by a big, dusty desert.

Nearby, a neighbor's farm has recently gone under. And weeds have taken over an abandoned farmhouse in the next property over.

"It's just kind of sad, because it seems like it's kind of slowly creeping towards us," says Frey, a fifth-generation farmer trying to adapt to the current drought in California and in the far West.

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4:44am

Tue March 18, 2014
Around the Nation

Calif. Fight Over Concealed Weapons Could Head To High Court

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 5:24 am

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that San Diego County's restrictions on concealed carry permits are unconstitutional. The case could have national implications.
iStockphoto

California is shaping up to be the next major battleground over the Second Amendment, as gun rights activists in the nation's most populous state push for loosening concealed carry laws.

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4:35pm

Wed March 5, 2014
Environment

Even After The Floods, The Drought Continues

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 8:42 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Here's some good news about the water situation in Northern California: More rain is falling today. San Francisco has seen eight inches over the past week and down south, L.A., has seen four. That's more rain than those two cities received over the whole past year. But the drought is still on and is still severe. And California's farmers are still looking at a bleak situation.

Here's NPR's Kirk Siegler.

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5:12pm

Sun March 2, 2014
The Salt

Even In A Desert, Drought Spells Trouble For Ranchers

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 7:09 pm

No snowpack, no hay: In the northern Nevada, cattle feed is getting hard to come by, as sources of water diminish in supply.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

In northern Nevada, a place famous for its wide, open spaces and expansive cattle operations, ranchers are in a bind due to the historic drought.

Much of the state is desert, so when people talk about drought, they're really talking about the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. It's at barely 20 percent of average.

This is a huge concern for farmers and ranchers like Julie Wolf, because the mountains store the snow that melts and feeds rivers and reservoirs. These bodies of water then allow the desert to bloom with grass and alfalfa for her cattle.

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3:21am

Fri February 28, 2014
The Salt

Drought Could Dry Up Nevada Dairy Farmers' Expansion Plans

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 3:13 pm

There are about 2,000 dairy cows on Pete Olsen's fifth-generation farm in northern Nevada. A new milk processing plant is now putting pressure on Olsen and other dairy farmers to expand the size of their herds. But with the ongoing drought, farmers are struggling to get enough feed for the cows they already have.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

When Pete Olsen talks about drought on his fifth-generation dairy farm in Fallon, Nev., he's really talking about the snowpack 60 miles to the west in the Sierra Nevada.

The Sierras, Olsen says, are their lifeblood.

That is, the snowmelt from them feeds the Truckee and Carson rivers and a tangle of reservoirs and canals that make this desert bloom. Some of the highest-grade alfalfa in the world is grown here. And it makes perfect feed for dairy cows, because it's rich in nutrients.

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3:44am

Wed February 19, 2014
Around the Nation

LA Mayor: 'The Basics Have Been Neglected For Too Long'

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:37 am

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti may have only been in office eight months, but he's got big plans.
David McNew Getty Images

Los Angeles may be known for its celebrities, glitz and glam, but the city's mayor, Eric Garcetti, is focused on something decidedly less flashy: infrastructure.

Take the city's airport LAX, for example. You'd be forgiven for mistaking its terminals for a cramped bus station. And stepping out onto the curb can feel like an assault on the senses, with the horns, aggressive shuttle drivers and travelers jostling for taxis.

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9:01am

Sun February 2, 2014
Energy

Oil Train Derailments Spur Calls For Safety Measures

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 2:24 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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2:59am

Fri January 31, 2014
The Great Plains Oil Rush

Commuting To Distant Oil Fields: Good Money, At A Price

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 1:26 pm

The small streets of Williston, N.D., are bustling with trucks early in the morning.
Annie Flanagan for NPR

Think your commute is bad? Try 580 miles, one-way.

Door to door, that's how far Rory Richardson travels between his home in western Montana and his job on the oil fields near Williston, N.D. Often, he makes the trip on a plane his company charters to shuttle workers between here and the Northwest.

"It's no fun coming over to North Dakota," he says, clutching a duffel bag and a cooler of food as he walks out of Williston's one-room airport and into the biting North Dakota winter.

But this is Richardson's new life.

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4:48am

Thu January 30, 2014
Business

Gunmakers Protest Microstamping Law In Calif.

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 7:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news includes halted gun sales in California.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Two of the nation's largest gun manufacturers have announced they will stop selling semi-automatic hand guns in California. This is because of a dispute over a new identification law.

NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.

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2:54am

Wed January 29, 2014
Around the Nation

On The Plains, The Rush For Oil Has Changed Everything

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 12:49 pm

Diners at Lonnie's Roadhouse Cafe eat breakfast before heading to work in Williston, N.D.
Annie Flanagan for NPR

A remarkable transformation is underway in western North Dakota, where an oil boom is changing the state's fortunes and leaving once-sleepy towns bursting at the seams. In a series of stories, NPR is exploring the economic, social and environmental demands of this modern-day gold rush.

On a Sunday at dusk, Amtrak's eastbound Empire Builder train is jampacked, filled with people heading to their jobs in North Dakota towns like Minot, Williston and Watford City.

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