Living the Dream
Dances with Gila Trout
A short story by Nate Wiese, Project Leader at Mora NFH.
The Arizona Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office, or AZFWCO as we are more commonly known, is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Fisheries Program. With our partners, we restore native and sport fish populations, and the habitats they depend on, throughout Arizona. Native American Tribes, State and Federal agencies, private organizations, local landowners, and others all help make it possible.
AZFWCO'S mission is to “work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish and other aquatic organisms and their habitats in Arizona.” Our daily activities are driven by 3 primary focus areas or goals and include Aquatic Species Conservation and Management, Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Management, and Cooperation with Native American Tribes.
AZFWCO is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's lead station for recovery of threatened and endangered fish including Apache trout and Little Colorado spinedace, and also works with loach minnow, Gila topminnow, and the “big river” fish such as razorback sucker, humpback chub, and bonytail that inhabit the Colorado River . Our recovery efforts include renovating streams and other aquatic habitats inhabited by non-native fish species that out-compete and often prey upon native fish. Additional efforts include constructing barriers to prevent upstream migration of non-native species, replicating native fish populations into suitable habitat (either natural or man-made), restoring fish passage to previously inaccessible habitat, and monitoring native fish populations. In addition to conserving and recovering Arizona 's native fish, we were committed to devoting resources to the many Native American Tribes in Arizona by providing technical fishery assistance in support of the conservation and management of Tribal recreational fishing programs and non-game, native fish.
The AZFWCO, formerly named Pinetop Fishery Assistance Office, was established in the late 1950s in Springerville, Arizona. In the early 1960s, the office moved to Pinetop, Arizona, where it later incorporated the Parker Fishery Assistance Office, which was established in 1962. Two satellite offices were later added to AZFWCO, one on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, established in 1988, and one in Flagstaff, Arizona, established in 1991.
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