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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge Completes Fish Barrier Project

Region 2, July 10, 2013

In early July, San Bernardino NWR staff and volunteers completed a fish barrier in Black Draw. The fish barrier is part of the mitigation package the Fish and Wildlife Service received from the Department of Homeland Security for the construction of tactical infrastructure along the International Border with Mexico. The purpose of the barrier is to prevent non-native fish, such as mosquito fish, channel catfish, and largemouth bass from pioneering upstream from Mexico onto the refuge and threatening the native fish populations found there. Between planning, acquisition of materials, and the actual construction, this project took over three years to complete, but has been a proposed refuge project since the completion of the Fishes of the Río Yaqui Recovery Plan in 1995. The barrier was constructed far enough onto the refuge that, while preventing the upstream movement of non-native species into areas populated by native fish, it also will allow refuge staff to survey those portions of Black Draw below the barrier for native species that are trying to move upstream, and then assist them by moving them above the barrier into suitable habitat.

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