Melissa Sevigny

Science & Technology Reporter

Melissa grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Arizona and an M.FA. in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University. Her first book, Mythical River, forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press, is about water issues in the Southwest. She has worked as a science communicator for NASA’s Phoenix Mars Scout Mission, the Water Resources Research Center, and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Melissa relocated to Flagstaff in 2015 to join KNAU’s team. She enjoys hiking, fishing and reading fantasy novels.

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Melissa Sevigny

Arizona received federal disaster funding to help repair the damage from flash floods in neighborhoods below the Museum Fire scar in Flagstaff. The money can be used for emergency work and repairs to city infrastructure, but it can’t be given to homeowners. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, some residents say they can no longer live safely in their homes.

American Chemical Society

No creature conjures up images of the burning hot desert better than the rattlesnake, with its venomous fangs, buzzing tail and ability to withstand extreme heat. But even rattlesnakes get thirsty, and they know an unusual way to quench their thirst: they harvest rainwater from their backs. 

Indigenous nations are at the frontlines of climate change, but they’re also leaders in how to adapt to changing weather conditions and transition to renewable energy. That’s the conclusion of a new report published by the Institute of Tribal Environmental Professionals at Northern Arizona University. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with two of the report’s authors, Nikki Cooley and Kelsey Morales.

Lori Iverson/ USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has begun an investigation into the status of the gray wolf in the western U.S. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, the agency is responding to concerns from environmentalists and tribes about the species’ survival.

NASA Johnson Space Center

Astronomers at Northern Arizona University are searching for a special kind of asteroid, and they want the public to help. “Active asteroids” are strange space rocks with tails, and they may hold clues about the origin of water on Earth. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with project lead Colin Orion Chandler about how citizens around the world are speeding up the process of finding these rare objects.

U.S. Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

More than five and a half million acres have burned in the U.S. this year. Wildfires have grown larger and more intense over the last few decades, in part because of the warmer temperatures brought on by global climate change. Residents in forest cities like Flagstaff increasingly have to prepare for evacuations, smoky days, and post-fire floods. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, all that takes a toll on mental health.

Friends of the Verde River

All kinds of labels help people make decisions these days: organic, water-smart, earth friendly, fair trade. What about a label for homes and businesses that are friendly to the local river?

That’s the idea behind the “River Friendly Living” Certification, a new program launched this year by the nonprofit group Friends of the Verde River. The certifications go to homes, businesses, farms, and ranches that have made strides to protect the region’s water supply for future generations.

University of Nevada-Las Vegas

The Colorado River Basin is enduring two decades of drought, and water shortages are on the horizon. But scientists say this isn’t the worst-case scenario. The region has undergone longer, deeper droughts in the past. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with paleoclimatologist Matt Lachniet of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas about how knowing the past can help us plan for a warmer, drier future.

University of Colorado-Boulder

A new study tackles the mystery of the missing rocks at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Scientists call this feature the Great Unconformity. It’s a billion-year-chunk of history that somehow eroded away, and now, scientists think they know why. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with geologist Barra Peak at the University of Colorado-Boulder about her findings.

Bridgestone Tires

Arizona will lose 18 percent of its Colorado River water allotment next year because of a shortage declared this week. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, some Arizonans are looking ahead with concern to deeper cuts projected for the future as the river’s reservoirs continue to shrink.