LAKE TAHOE — Former North Lake Tahoe Bonanza reporter Mike Taugher died over the weekend while snorkeling with his family in Hawaii.
Taugher, 50, was the spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, having taken the position after spending years as a reporter for the Contra Costa Times.
He was appointed deputy director of communications, education and outreach in 2012.
According to the Contra Costa Times, Taugher was found unresponsive in the water off Black Rock in Kaanapali, Hawaii, Saturday morning. He had been snorkeling with family members when he went missing.
Lifeguard, firefighters and paramedics tried to revive Taugher but were unsuccessful. A police spokesman in Hawaii said no foul play is suspected.
He worked for the Tahoe Daily Tribune and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza from 1989 to 1992, and for the Greeley Tribune from 1992 to 1995. He worked at the Albuquerque Journal from 1995 to 2000.
Taugher’s death prompted statements from politicians and state officials. U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Contra Costa County, issued the following statement on the passing of Taugher:
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the untimely death of Mike Taugher and I extend to his family and friends my deepest sympathy. I only knew Mike professionally, as he covered California water issues for The Contra Costa Times, the same issues that I work on as a Member of Congress from the Delta region. But I can say that Mike was unquestionably fair, knowledgeable, and deeply insightful about the issues he covered. He helped to broaden people’s understanding of the environmental issues we face in California and I hope that his family will take some solace in knowing that many of us will remember Mike as a solid professional and very decent person.”
California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird issued a statement on behalf of Taugher’s employers.
“On behalf of the governor and the entire Brown administration, I want to extend my most sincere condolences to the family of Mike Taugher,” Laird said. “I worked with him both as a reporter and in his role at fish and wildlife. It was clear that the Contra Costa Times was lucky to have him as a reporter, and we were equally as lucky to work with such a talented media professional. Mike was vital to this institution professionally, but more than that, he was a kind, caring person who clearly was a devoted father and husband. His loss is tragic and will be widely felt.”
The North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, Tahoe Daily Tribune and Greeley Tribune are all owned by Swift Communications.