What We Do

The Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources and Recovery Center is one of the largest facilities in the nation entirely dedicated to holding, studying, culturing, and distributing as many as 20 federally listed endangered species. Annual commitments for the facility range from short- to long-term culture of extremely rare fish (some of which are the sole remaining individuals for the species) for five major threatened and endangered species Restoration and Recovery Programs.  

The Aquatic Animal Health and Applied Research programs work to ensure the knowledge needed to reduce disease, improve survival, and keep adaptive potential. This work supports our Fish culture program and other facilities and their species.  

Management and Conservation

The Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources and Recovery Center conducts an aquatic species conservation program that assists in restoration and recovery efforts of federally listed threatened and endangered species. The program functions though scientific development and evaluation of new methods, concepts, systems, and approaches.  

The Fish Culture program accomplishes this by  

  1. supporting captive populations to protect against extinction should a catastrophic event occur;
  2. propagating and providing various life stages (eggs, larvae, sub-adults, or adults) for restoration and recovery activities; 
  3. developing culture techniques for new species that are threatened, endangered, or species of concern – this requires an examination of the life history (reproductive ecology, life span, nutritional needs, physiology, etc.) of each new species; and 
  4. receiving fish rescued from environmental catastrophes such as fire and drought. 

The Applied Research program accomplishes this by collecting data helps biologists understand the effects that natural and artificial environments have on species and to provide practical solutions for declining species recovery. The largest component of the program is conservation genetics, which examines and monitors various genetic factors. 

The Aquatic Animal Health program accomplishes this by conducting facility inspections, providing support to facilities when health problems arise, and assessing the health of wild populations. The three on-site components used to assess health are bacteriology, virology, and parasitology. Tissues are collected from each individual and run through a series of tests. Bacteriology determines what type of bacteria are present in the sample and then staff determine if the bacteria are a health concern. Virology determines if viruses are present then genetics can then be used to identify the virus. Parasitology examines various tissues to determine if they contain parasites.