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Rio Sonoyta pupfish pond at Pinacate Biosphere Reserve (MX)
Southwest Region, March 29, 2007
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On March 28-29, 2007, Erin Fernandez and Doug Duncan of the AESO Tucson suboffice directed and assisted in the construction of a pond under a USFWS Preventing Extinction Grant.  The pond was constructed at the headquarters of the El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve in Sonora, Mexico.  The pond will serve as a refuge population for pupfish from the Rio Sonoyta, which is a small and very threatened population of pupfish.  The pupfish in the Rio Sonoyta were formerly considered a subspecies of the endangered desert pupfish, but are now recognized as a separate species, the Quitobaquito/Rio Sonoyta pupfish (Cyprinodon eremus). This pupfish only occurs at Quitobaquito Springs and in the Rio Sonoyta.  The pupfish will be captured from the Rio Sonoyta and released into the pond in April 2007, along with longfin dace, which are even rarer in the drainage than the pupfish, and are likely an undescribed species.  Pond planning and construction involved a large number of partners, and included:  the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve, the University of Arizona, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Caldwell Design, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and students from the Oregon State University Fish and Wildlife Club.  This pond should be the first of several constructed in Mexico with this funding, and will provide safe refuges for these two native fishes in this extremely arid region.  The ponds are recovery tasks identified in the desert pupfish recovery plan.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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