[env-trinity] SDN: Etna High students track Scott River Chinook

Sari Sommarstrom sari at sisqtel.net
Fri Nov 1 15:24:56 PDT 2013

Etna High students track Scott River Chinook

By David Smith
 <mailto:dsmith at siskiyoudaily.com> dsmith at siskiyoudaily.com 

November 01. 2013 10:03AM

Scottie Towne measures a Chinook carcass with the assistance of Peter Thamer
of the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District.

PHOTO/ David Smith

Scottie Towne measures a Chinook carcass with the assistance of Peter Thamer
of the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District.

A slow, steady walk through cold water in frigid weather might not be an
ideal activity for some, but some Etna High School students braved the
elements to get a hands-on experience tracking salmon numbers in the Scott
     Part-time EHS teacher Jim Morris led the students on their trek through
the cool waters of the Scott River, where they formed a moving line that
provided a wide field of vision to detect Chinook salmon that have returned
from the ocean to spawn.
     The students were on the lookout for live salmon, carcasses and
spawning areas known as "redds," building a catalog of the annual salmon run
to augment visual counts from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
weir located at river mile 18.
     In addition to proof that a salmon has made it to a section of the
river, carcasses provide a wealth of data and practice for students, giving
insight into sample collecting and proper chain of evidence.
     "We want to take high school students out so they can see what's going
on," Morris said Thursday during an expedition. He explained that some
students live near the river without realizing that salmon live and spawn
within their reach.
     "I've lived here since I was three and didn't know what was going on,"
Peter Thamer said, laughing. He now works for the Siskiyou Resource
Conservation District, assisting with biological sampling and flow data
     Morris said the various samples the students collect by hand provide
information on which age cohorts are still maturing in the ocean, as well as
information on where the salmon have traveled. Collected scales are used to
determine age, and flesh samples can provide chemical profiles that are then
matched to specific ocean regions.
     The students work their way through one or two miles of river,
collecting samples and recording data before returning to class.
Morris said the experience not only opens students' eyes but also opens
opportunities after they graduate in the fields of biology and river



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