Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Service Biologists participate in Annual Meeting of the Desert Fishes Council, Cuatrociénagas, Mexico
Southwest Region, November 15, 2008
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Austin ESFO biologist, Nathan Allan, participated, along with several other Service biologists, in the Annual Meeting of the Desert Fishes Council (DFC) in Cuatrociénagas, Mexico, November 13 through 15, 2008.  The meeting provided a wealth of information on the latest research and management activities for conservation of fishes from across the Southwest.  Over 150 individuals attended and more than 60 professional presentations were made.  Examples of presentations related to Austin ESFO conservation work included: native fish survey results from northern Mexico, including the Devils River minnow; an analysis of the need for disturbance to maintain desert spring systems; and the status of native fishes in the sucker family in the lower Pecos River, New Mexico, which are also of conservation concern in Texas.  Nathan co-authored the area report, Desert fishes research and management in Texas during 2008, presented by Dr. Gary Garrett, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  Nathan currently serves on the DFC Executive Committee as the Past President and he facilitated the annual DFC business meeting because the current President was unable to attend. 

The DFC mission is to preserve the biological integrity of desert aquatic ecosystems and their associated life forms.  The history of DFC began in the late 1960s, when groundwater pumping for agricultural development in Ash Meadows, Nevada, began to impact habitats of the endemic fishes, specifically the Devils Hole pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis).  Concerned biologists and management agency officials convened a symposium to address the threats to and preservation of this unique fauna.  It was at this symposium, in November 1969, that DFC was born. DFC is now an international organization, over 200 members strong, and has expanded its mission to include arid aquatic ecosystems throughout western North America from Oregon south through México (sometimes including Australia, the Middle East and anywhere else that’s dry enough).  The membership includes academics, management agency biologists, aquarists and other interesting individuals from many walks of life, all blended by the common thread of commitment to the conservation of desert fishes.  The primary role of DFC is to hold annual symposia to report research/management activities and to effect rapid dissemination of information.  DFC also maintains a network of Area Coordinators to track and report on progress and trends of species and their habitats throughout the North American deserts. On the ground, DFC supports a research station in Cuatrociénagas, México, and a small grants program has recently been added to support education and conservation projects in the U.S. and México.  Annual gatherings of members from all over western North America, including many Mexican members, serve to expand and reinforce professional relationships through the exchange of information during formal presentations and informal conversations.  In 2008, DFC celebrated its 40th annual gathering.

Contact Info: Bill Seawell, 512 490-0057, bill_seawell@fws.gov
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