Native Fish Conservation Areas Chihuahuan Desert of Texas

, University of Texas | Author(s): Gary Garrett, University of Texas at Austin; Timothy Birdsong, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Ben Labay, Siglo Group; Megan Bean, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, in partnership with University of Texas Fishes of Texas Project and Siglo Group, has developed a statewide network of focal watersheds that represents a set of native fish “strongholds”. In the Chihuahuan Desert region of Texas, six Native Fish Conservation Areas in the Rio Grande, Pecos and Devils river basins were delineated and 39 focal fish species were identified as priorities for conservation. This was accomplished using a spatial prioritization analysis that identifies focal areas for conservation based on species distribution models for priority fish taxa. An Advisory Council of experts in the region has also been developed and they will be tasked with identifying priority conservation, restoration, monitoring, and research actions for preservation of native fishes, their habitats, and other aquatic resources in these watersheds. In addition, this collaboration will help to catalyze cooperation, collaboration, and leveraging of technical and financial resources among local, state, and federal natural resource management agencies, universities, NGOs, and other local partners that contribute to conservation in the Chihuahuan NFCAs.