Looking at Sites through a Different Lens

By Lauren LaGrande

When I used to think of Sites, I pictured the golden hills just west of my house where my cousins live. My memories include taking jeep rides with friends with no destination in mind; warm nights spent searching for frogs and trips to the lake with good company.

With the continuation of the drought, it is evident that there is more need for water storage now more than ever. Even in a drought, Sites Reservoir could store more than 400,000 acre-feet of water from winter rains. Sites Reservoir would benefit refuges, wildlife, urban cites, rural communities, and farms. The Sites Reservoir project contains the creativity and flexibility that would truly serve a variety of purposes and people throughout the state.

If you widen the lens and look at the big picture, you can visualize a future with more available water for a range of uses in California. Now when I think of Sites, I picture more habitat for wildlife, farmers having more certainty about growing their crops and more water available for urban areas.

As we look into our future, our children’s future, and our grandchildren’s future, it’s evident we need Sites Reservoir. We must have the willingness to think about the future and have vision moving forward.

Sites Reservoir is a bittersweet project for me, but after some refocusing, I have hope for the valuable water storage and future Sites would provide. The golden hills of Sites would assist bringing more water into our golden state.


Lauren LaGrande is the latest in a family farming tradition that began nearly 100 years ago. She is currently a junior at Oregon State University and is studying agricultural communications. When she’s on the farm, you’ll often see her with her trusted companion, Hank, the family dog. Lauren’s great-grandfather grew his first rice crop in the Sacramento Valley in 1916 and her family has continued this tradition ever since.