Watershed-Based Conservation Assessments and Planning to Guide Range-Wide Conservation of Guadalupe Bass

, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department | Author(s): Preston Bean, Timothy Birdsong, Megan Bean, and Gary Garrett

Habitat alterations associated with population growth and subsequent increases in demand for water in the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion of Texas have resulted in declines in several native fish species including Guadalupe Bass, a popular and economically important sport fish. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has implemented watershed-based conservation efforts to restore Guadalupe Bass populations and their associated aquatic communities including the Guadalupe Bass Restoration Initiative and establishment of Native Fish Conservation Areas. Additionally, TPWD recently developed a 10-year conservation plan for Guadalupe Bass identifying priority populations at a sub-basin level. Because Guadalupe Bass uses a broad range of habitats across life stages and has direct associations with other imperiled species, conservation efforts directed at Guadalupe Bass will benefit the native fish communities as a whole within these systems. Efforts guided by the Guadalupe Bass conservation plan will utilize regional conservation partnerships and local, grassroots conservation groups to deliver on-the-ground conservation through supporting and conducting watershed assessments, organizing outreach efforts to local landowners, providing technical guidance and assistance to landowners to implement best management practices, and will focus on restoring and enhancing Guadalupe Bass habitats through management of riparian areas and uplands rather than direct manipulation of instream habitats.