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FOCUS ON: American River Research (Transcript)

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Sacramento State Geology Professor Tim Horner is taking the classroom outdoors to the American River. A handful of graduate students and countless undergraduates have had the opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting with the help of a state grant to develop research on the spawning habits of fish.
(Narrator:) This is “Focus” from the campus of Sacramento State.

(Tim Horner, Ph.D., hydrogeologist, Sacramento State:) “What we want is that surface water to flush down through the gravel.”

(Jim Finnerty reporting:) It’s not your usual classroom; for these geology students at Sacramento State, it’s real world science.

(Horner:) “So what we’re looking at is the habitat below the dam, and we’re making physical and chemical measurements to see if it’s suitable for salmon spawning.”

(Finnerty:) Matthew Power is one of Dr. Tim Horner’s students researching fish habitat on the American River. The field work lets him utilize what he’s learned in the classroom.

(Matthew Power, geology student, Sacramento State:) “I like being in the field, but you can’t do one without the other. You have to be proficient in both.”

(Finnerty:) Students here use a variety of equipment to check water flow and oxygen levels. Dr. Horner’s research is part of a long-term project to improve water flow through river gravel that’s used by fish for spawning. 

(Horner:) “If it travels slowly through the gravel, that means that oxygenated surface water is not delivered to the eggs and the salmon don’t do so well. The eggs don’t survive is what basically happens.”

(Finnerty:) Putting “theory” into research here involves scientific measurements in the cold water rapids.

(Jeanette Hummel, geology student, Sacramento State:) “Sac State is a very hands-on college. I love the field work. It’s real and you’re not sitting in a classroom hearing about it. You’re actually doing it.”

(Finnerty:) Research from the student’s work is used by state and federal agencies to make habitat improvements.

 (Horner:) “We get some good numbers and some good research out of it, but we also train students in real-world situations. This is the best lab you can have.”

(Finnerty:) This is Jim Finnerty reporting.

(Narrator:) For more information on this and other news from Sacramento State, visit our website.

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