Conservation of Native Fishes in the Colorado River Basin, Texas

, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Habitat Conservation Branch | Author(s): Stephan Magnelia, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Megan Bean, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Kevin Mayes, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

The Colorado River originates near Lubbock, TX and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Streamflow is largely controlled by 11 reservoirs used for flood control, agriculture, municipal and industrial supply, hydropower production, and recreation. Maintaining a balance between human and environmental needs in the basin is becoming increasingly challenging with unprecedented population growth and increasing water demands. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department works with landowners, water managers, and other partners in an attempt to balance human water needs with those for wildlife, and enhance appreciation for the services provided by healthy watersheds. Work in the headwaters focuses on land conservation using landowner incentives and education to improve habitat for focal species. TPWD is filling critical information gaps on the effects of urbanization on Guadalupe Bass and assessing prescriptive reservoir releases for Blue Sucker. TPWD has worked to identify environmental flow needs for the basin to inform water management, planning, and permitting. Public appreciation and stewardship was enhanced through the development of paddling trails and leased public access sites. Much of the basin was designated a Native Fish Conservation Area. Coordination of land conservation planning and delivery programs is underway to restore and enhance fish habitat within the Colorado River Basin.