Resource Management


Working for wildlife.

Bringing Back the Fish
Division of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation Biologists are working at the recovery of three species of threatened and endangered fish, razorback suckers, desert pupfish and bonytail chubs. Brought in by the Dexter National Fish Hatchery, the young fish are kept at the refuge in a protected cove under cover where they will grow to approximately 10 inches. At this size, the fish have a chance of surviving predators when released into the wild. They are monitored using population estimates and pit tags. This helps biologists learn more about the habitat needs of the fish, which also helps establish management priorities for the refuge. Currently endangered fish are released in Lake Havasu and other suitable areas.

Restoring the Flood Cycle
With the construction of Alamo Dam on the Bill Williams River in 1968, the historic flood cycle of the river was drastically altered. Waters were released according to the needs of humans with no consideration for the impacts to natural resources. In the early 1990s the Bill Williams River Corridor Steering Committee was formed to help manage water flows to address many issues, including the needs of wildlife and habitat. As a result, the dam now releases waters to mimic the historic flooding of the river.

The return of this critical ecological function - flooding - helped ensure the restoration of native vegetation along the river. Many plant species have evolved with flooding and depend on it for part or all of their life cycle. Managing the dam’s water releases to mimic the historic flow helped in the protection and rejuvenation of what is today considered the last extensive native forest on the lower Colorado River, which is found on Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge.

This forest of cottonwoods and willow trees is important for many reasons. Along the river’s edge, the trees provide: shade that keeps water temperatures cool, important to spawning fish and other river species; habitat for birds feeding, nesting and resting; home to a diversity of insects that are an important food source for many other species, including hungry fish below; and protection from erosion for the  river's banks that help trap nutrient-rich sediment.

Thanks to the partnership efforts of many, this portion of the Bill Williams River continues to run wild.

* The Bill Williams River Corridor Steering Committee is a partnership of federal, state, private, and non-profit organizations working together to manage water releases from the Alamo Reservoir.