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Muleshoe Native Fish Reintroduction - Successful First Year
Southwest Region, September 17, 2008
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On October 4, 2007, approximately 2,800 Gila topminnow, desert pupfish, spikedace, and loach minnow were reintroduced into streams and springs on the Muleshoe Conservation Management Area (CMA), located in southeast Arizona.  Monitoring completed in September 2008 found that Gila topminnow populations persisted at three locations, with one population having quadrupled in size.  Desert pupfish persisted at two of the three locations in which they were repatriated.  Spikedace and loach minnow were found in both of the repatriation streams.  Juvenile Gila topminnow, spikedace, and loach minnow were found, indicating that reproduction had occurred.  As detailed in the original project proposal, the original populations were augmented with an additional 500 Gila topminnow, 500 desert pupfish, 2,000 loach minnow, and 1,000 spikedace.  An additional 275 topminnow and 290 desert pupfish were placed in a new location on the CMA.  All spikedace and loach minnow  used in the augmentation effort were reared at the spikedace and loach minnow captive propagation facility at Bubbling Ponds hatchery (Arizona), and all pupfish and topminnow were reared in the San Pedro pond (Arizona) managed by The Nature Conservancy.  Monitoring and augmentation efforts were built into the original project proposal.  Monitoring will continue annually for the next four years, and augmentations will occur annually for the same period, if needed. 

The Muleshoe native fish reintroduction is the result of a three-year planning effort carried out by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona State Lands Department, Arizona State University Native Fish lab, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, and the Fish and Wildlife Service.  Other volunteers have joined the team for the monitoring effort.  The project resulted in establishment of four new populations of topminnow and pupfish and was also the first reintroduction project for spikedace and loach minnow in 27 years. 

Since the implementation of the Muleshoe native fish reintroduction, three other spikedace and loach minnow reintroduction projects have been completed or are largely underway.  Spikedace and loach minnow were reintroduced to Fossil Creek (Arizona) in October 2007.  Spikedace were reintroduced in the San Francisco River (New Mexico) in September 2008.  Finally, a barrier was constructed on Bonita Creek (Arizona) during the summer of 2008, with renovation efforts scheduled for October 2008.  Spikedace and loach minnow will be reintroduced to that system within fiscal year 2009.

Contact Info: Nick Carrillo, (602) 242-0210x203, nick_carrillo@fws.gov



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