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Salmon a real whopper of a fish

November 16, 2008|Pete Thomas, Mary MacVean and Michelle Maltais

What has happened to all of our Chinook salmon?

The recent discovery of a dead fish (see photo) in Battle Creek in Tehama County was significant enough for the Department of Fish and Game to issue a news release Wednesday, describing it as "one of the biggest Chinook salmon ever recorded in California."

Biologist Doug Killam made the find while conducting a survey of spawned-out fall-run salmon on lower Battle Creek near the Northern California town of Red Bluff. (Salmon die after they spawn.)

"I have counted tens of thousands of salmon during my career, and this is the biggest I have ever seen," Killam said. "When alive, it could have weighed more than the largest Chinook officially recorded in California, an 88-pound fish caught in the Sacramento River."

Most of the salmon found in these surveys weigh 20 to 30 pounds.

Killam supervises a crew of employees who work year-round monitoring fish populations throughout the Upper Sacramento River Basin. Four distinct runs of salmon are surveyed for Chinook and steelhead: winter, spring, fall and late-fall.

The winter- and spring-run Chinook salmon and steelhead are listed under the state and federal endangered species acts, making information on their population size vital in recovery efforts and for state and federal water management activities.

"Hopefully, this fish was entirely successful in passing on its superior genetic potential," Killam said. "This is one of the few bright spots this year for one of California's great sport fish, the Chinook salmon."

-- Pete Thomas

From: Outposts: Hike, surf, fish and get outdoors in Southern California

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Woman earns prize for video

Sarah Miller went from her home in Westlake Village to Nepal, where she made a video comparing her life with that of people she met there, finding different definitions of necessity, wealth and happiness.

Her work won her a Goldman Sachs Foundation Prize for Excellence in International Education. The award is given to high school students who demonstrate an in-depth understanding of key issues in international affairs and the global economy.

Miller's video included footage she shot while with a media team documenting human rights issues and the recent elections. She filmed an interview with the rebel leader at the time, Prachanda, who has since become the prime minister.

A recent graduate of Westlake High School, she has also made a video of her local orchestra.

-- Mary MacVean

From: The Homeroom, Southern California schools, from the inside out

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Four iPhone apps for emergencies

When the ground stops rumbling and the car alarms start screeching, we tend to grab our phones. For many, that happens to be an iPhone. So we're weighing in to give you four apps that might assist you in an emergency situation.

First aid information: iFirstAid (99 cents) walks you through step by step, with pictures, how to assess injuries and take action in emergency medical situations.

Both 1st Response: Emergency Kit ($2.99) and Pocket First Aid and CPR Guide ($1.99) give you advice on what your own first-aid kit should contain and detailed information on how to handle some common injuries, such as bleeding, shock, broken bones and loss of consciousness (it won't help you much if you're unconscious, though). You can also enter your own medical information such as allergies, blood type and emergency contacts.

The 1st Response app includes a "flashlight" function, which could be helpful if the power has gone out. And for roadside problems, it offers basic car repair tips.

These two apps don't require cellphone service, which is a good thing since it is often the first service to get overwhelmed in an emergency.

Location services: If you are unable to free yourself -- and have a cell signal -- tap on Emergency Distress Beacon (free) to activate your GPS services and send an e-mail to whomever you choose.

The note says "An emergency distress beacon was set off by ___ at location" and includes your latitude and longitude. I sent one to my editor -- yeah, that got his attention pretty quickly. (Caveat: if you're not able to get on a Wi-Fi signal or if cellphone service is out, this won't work.)

Michelle Maltais

From: Technology: The business and culture of our digital lives, from the L.A. Times

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