Nate Rott

Nathan Rott is a reporter on NPR's National Desk.

Based at NPR West in Culver City, California, Rott spends a lot of his time on the road, covering everything from breaking news stories like the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino to in-depth issues like the future of our national parks. Though his reporting takes him around the country, Rott's primary focus and interest is the ever-changing face of the American West. Whether it's the effects of warmer waters in the Pacific Ocean, the changing demographics of rural towns, or the plight of the prairie chicken, Rott tries to tell the stories of the people that live, breathe, and work in the American West and portray the issues that are important to them.

Rott owes his start at NPR to two extraordinary young men he never met. As the first recipient of the Stone and Holt Weeks Fellowship in 2010, he aims to honor the memory of the two brothers by carrying on their legacy of making the world a better place.

As a Montanan and graduate of the University of Montana, Rott prefers to be outside at just about every hour of the day. Prior to working at NPR, he worked a variety of jobs including wildland firefighting, commercial fishing, children's theater teaching, and professional snow-shoveling for the United States Antarctic Program. Odds are, he's shoveled more snow than you.

Driving through the gold-brown savanna of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, past its Dr. Seuss-like trees and water-carved rocks, it's easy to see why the national parks have been called America's Best Idea.

Spend a few hours with some of the park's employees, like Cultural Resources Branch Chief Jason Theuer, and you'll see that national parks are also another thing: expensive. There is a nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog of work that needs be done but isn't because of limited money.

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Several leaders and members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.

Nevada is a complicated state. Especially if you're a Republican politician looking to appeal to the state's increasingly wide variety of conservative voters. There are sprawling, diverse urban centers like Las Vegas and there are places on the side of highways that you could miss altogether if you were busy changing the radio. Lovelock is one of those places.

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Ismael Fernandez is about as polished as his black leather shoes. His hair is neatly trimmed and combed to the side. He moves his hands when he speaks, purposefully punctuating his points. And he says things like this: "There needs to be change in Wilder, and just in politics in general. We need to have younger people coming in, so that's why I decided to run."

Fernandez is not your typical 19-year-old.

He's a freshman at the College of Idaho, studying Spanish and history, and he is one of youngest elected politicians in Idaho history.

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Parents in Los Angeles started their day with this robocall, a frightening announcement that there would be no school today.

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A New York judge will weigh in on Wednesday whether fantasy sports is based on skill or chance.

New York's attorney general's office has filed lawsuits against the two biggest daily fantasy sports companies, FanDuel and DraftKings, demanding that they stop taking bets in New York because their games are based on chance, which makes them gambling and illegal under New York state law. Daily fantasy sports companies insist that their games are legal because they're based on skill.

New York state's attorney general has ordered the two biggest daily fantasy sports companies to stop accepting bets there. He says those games constitute illegal gambling under state law.

In making the announcement, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the games "cause the same kinds of social and economic harm as other forms of illegal gambling" and mislead consumers:

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Daily fantasy sports have been getting a ton of publicity. It started with nonstop TV ads from companies that allow you to play fantasy sports for money.

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President Obama's decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline was met with breathless excitement by many in the environmental community.

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Listen to this.

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MARTIN: That is the sound of a bird many feel could determine the future of the West.

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The greater sage grouse is a peculiar and distinctly Western bird. It's about the size of a chicken and about as adaptable as the dodo bird, which is to say it's not very adaptable at all — at least not in a human-driven time scale.

In biological terms, the greater sage grouse is perfectly adapted for its habitat: the rolling hills of knee-high silver scrub that's sometimes called the sagebrush sea. It's the oft-forgotten parts of the fast-changing West — The Big Empty, as settlers used to call it.

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Hey, this next story is an attaboy to California. The state wants people to cut back water use in a drought. And in July, urban water use dropped 31 percent compared to last year. NPR's Nathan Rott reports.

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Central California is sinking. A new reports shows some parts of the drought-stricken state are dropping almost 2 inches per month as farmers keep drilling deeper to find groundwater for their crops. Here's NPR's Nathan Rott.

The Fish Creek Fire in Interior Alaska isn't much to look at. It's about 7,500 acres in size, sitting about an hour south of Fairbanks near the twisty Tanana River. The main fire front — the made-for-TV part, with torching trees and pulses of orange heat — flamed out more than a week ago, leaving behind a quiet charred landscape.

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"Extreme." "Unprecedented." "Historic." Those are just a few of the words being used to describe the start of this year's fire season in North America.

The wildfires are centered in the northwest of the continent, but their consequences are far-reaching. Thick smoke has blanketed parts of Wisconsin and North Dakota. It's triggered air alerts in Minnesota and Montana and muddied skies as far south as Tennessee and Colorado.

And, of course, things are even worse at the source.

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Now to a victory tour that kicked off today in Los Angeles. The U.S. women's soccer team is back from Canada, gold trophy in hand, after dominating Japan in the World Cup final on Sunday. NPR's Nathan Rott took in the scene at the LA rally.

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A ruling in California could have big implications for Uber and its business model. Uber is the big ridesharing company.

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