The Southwestern Region bridges the diverse lands, waters, and people of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Complex organisms inhabiting regional waters are culturally and economically significant to the American public. The range of aquatic habitats and species is extensive and requires specialized management by a dedicated team of biologists and supporting workforce.
The vision of the Service and its Fisheries Program is working with partners to restore and maintain fish and other aquatic resources at self-sustaining levels and for the benefit of the American public. Our work falls into seven primary focal areas key to our vision for the Fisheries Program and is an expression of what we strive to achieve for the benefit of the American public. Follow the links in the left navigation to learn more about these focal areas.
The Southwest Regional Office, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, administers 13 fisheries field stations in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
The Division of Fishery Resources in the Southwest encompasses five national fish hatcheries, two aquatic resource centers, one recovery center, and four fish and wildlife conservations offices.
National Fish Hatchery System
The National Fish Hatcheries in the Southwest Region (Tishomingo, Inks Dam, San Marcos, Uvalde, Mora, SW Native ARC, Alchesay-Williams Creek Complex, and Willow Beach) annually produce over four million fish. Our hatcheries, in concert with our partners, and other offices within the Southwest Region Fisheries Program, are important components of an integrated approach to the management and restoration of aquatic species and their environments.
Hatcheries in the Southwest have long played an important role in supporting recreational and Tribal Trust responsibilities, and continue to do so today. National Fish Hatcheries within the Southwest have become increasingly important as both short-term refuges for species in crisis and as long-term propagation and management facilities for native species. Over thirty species of listed fish, wildlife and plants are in hatchery care in the Southwest Region. Some of these captive populations are the only known-breeding individuals of their species.
Aquatic Resource Centers (Fish Technology Centers)
The Southwest Region's two fish aquatic resource centers (located in Dexter, NM and San Marcos, TX) provide a valuable link between academic research and fish hatcheries. Their mission is to seek improved ways to culture fish and maintain high-quality brood stock through research. Other agencies historically look to the Service for leadership in science and technology. As such, the Center staffs interact with universities, state and other federal agencies, and several private firms to develop state-of-the-art technology.
Recovery Center (Fish Health Unit)
The Fish Health Unit located at the Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources and Recovery Center in Dexter, NM works with partners to restore and maintain fish and other aquatic resources at self-sustaining levels and supports Federal mitigation programs. The Fish Health Unit is responsible for aquatic animal pathogen testing and health issues throughout the Southwest Region. Fish health biologists are highly trained in various scientific disciplines, like immunology, epidemiology, toxicology, and genetics. They apply that knowledge in fish heath assessments that might lead to early detection of potentially devastating diseases, prescribing preemptive measures.
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices
The four Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices evaluate wild native fish stocks and their habitats, and where feasible, work with partners to restore habitats and fish populations. These offices lead efforts to restore aquatic habitats (instream and wetland) and re-open fish passage, including activities under the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and National Fish Passage Program. These offices provide technical fish management assistance to tribes and other partners with a primary focus on native and inter-jurisdictional fish species.
Aquatic Invasive Species Management
The Service's Fisheries Program provides leadership in preventing, eradicating, and controlling invasive species through its Aquatic Invasive Species coordinators. The coordinators work closely with the public and private sector to develop and implement ways to control or eradicate invasive species.
Invasive species in the Southwest are potentially damaging to the environment, businesses, and recreation. These include giant salvinia, New Zealand mudsnail, zebra and quagga mussels, and the potentially invasive brown tree snake.
The Aquatic Invasive Species coordinators strive to increase awareness of invasive species through education, coordinating management activities with other federal and state agencies, and private entities. An informed public is key to preventing the spread of unwanted organisms. Prevention is less costly than eradication.