Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources
and Recovery Center
Southwest Region
 
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Male Gila trout that danced with Wiese on his lineOttine Dam Removal Will Benefit Fish and Wildlife in San Marcos River

The much anticipated removal of Ottine Dam is here.

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Overview

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The Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources & Recovery Center (formerly the Dexter National Fish Hatchery & Technology Center) is located in the heart of the Pecos River Valley in southeastern New Mexico.

The Center is home to a fully functional Fish Culture Facility, Molecular Ecology, Fish Health and Physiology & Pathobiology Laboratories with state of the art equipment and field expertise.

The Center currently houses over 1 million fish from 14 different threatened and endangered fish species. The objective of the Center is to work with partners on reintroduction of species into their native habitats; improve the quality of fish reared through research and maintain populations in the event of catastrophic loss in the wild.

History

The hatchery was established under the White Act of 1931, and opened its doors in 1932 to meet the demands of warm water game fish. The main focus of the facility was to supply local waterways with sport fish for enjoyment by the general public.

After the Endangered Species Act was established in 1973 the center staff began working with endangered species in 1974. Early on, four endangered species were brought on station, and recently have worked with as many as 20 species annually. The hatchery often provides emergency response and housing to many different species during drought and fire emergency situations. In 1978 the hatchery mission was transformed from a facility that raised fish for recreational purposes to a facility that would house and protect endangered fish species.

In 1991 the hatchery evolved once again into one of eight Technology Centers located throughout the nation. The mission was expanded to include: performing life history studies, creating new technology and carefully analyzing fish genetics. The success of reintroduction of endangered species into the wild is accredited partly to the uniqueness of technology centers and their mission.

In 2005, the facility was once again introduced to a new venue, adding a fish health laboratory. The Southwestern Fish Health program monitors aquatic species health for the entire Southwest Region and other regions throughout the nation.

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Accomplishments

Last updated: November 28, 2017