Conserving the Nature of America
Brazos River Crossing Removal Helps Two Endangered Fish Species

January 2, 2017


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Brazos River crossing removal. USFWS.

Brazos River crossing removal. Credit: USFWS.

The Brazos River is the largest river between the Rio Grande and the Red River in Texas. Originating in New Mexico, the Brazos River runs approximately 810 miles from West Texas to coastal Texas. A road crossing in Kent County was installed on the river in 2009 to service the energy industry located on the north side of the river. After several flood events, the river crossing was acting more like a dam than a bridge, by backing up water and cutting off potential migration access for fish.

In late November 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and the Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program, in coordination with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sharp Image Energy Inc. and private landowners worked together to improve the water flows in the river by removing the river crossing. Thanks to this collaborative project, two endangered fish species, the smalleye and sharpnose shiners, have at least another 17 miles of unobstructed habitat in the Brazos River. The sharpnose and smalleye shiners depend on long unobstructed stretches of river for spawning and will now be able to move farther upstream with no barriers. Removal of the river crossing will provide a natural river flow and a reduction in stilt trapping and hopefully improve the reproductive success of the two shiners in this area of the Brazos River.

Access additional information on the smalleye and sharpnose shiners .

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