Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources
and Recovery Center
Southwest Region

Coronavirus Update

Although most refuge and hatchery lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you recreate responsibly.

  • Check the refuge or hatchery website and call ahead for current information. Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, all visitors (age 2 and older), who are fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask inside of federal buildings in areas of substantial or high community transmission. All visitors who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.

Current Policies
The Department of the Interior’s current COVID-19 policy incorporates CDC guidance. As CDC science-based guidance changes, our policy will adapt. Visitors have always been encouraged by DOI to review CDC guidance when making their plans to recreate responsibly. CDC guidance indicates that fully vaccinated people are required to wear a mask inside of federal buildings in areas of substantial or high community transmission. Unvaccinated people must wear a mask indoors in DOI buildings at all times and outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained. All people, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask on all forms of public transportation and in healthcare settings on DOI lands. We will continue to ask visitors to follow CDC guidance to recreate responsibly.

We look forward to seeing you soon!


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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.


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.

Southwest Fisheries Field Notes News Feed

Field Notes showcases the activities and accomplishments of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from across the nation.

Southwestern Native Aquatic Resource and Recovery Center Attends the 12th Annual Dragonfly Festival

Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery Receives Certificate of Appreciation from Boy Scouts

New Technique for Alligator Gar Production at Tishomingo NFH Sets Record

Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery Seeks Important Bird Area Designation from the Audubon Society

Inks Dam NFH Supplying Catfish for the Fort Hood 2013 Summer Sport Fish Season

For the second year, Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery assists partners with the Steve Harvey Mentoring Event

Warmwater Native Fish Saved from the Whitewater-Baldy Fire

Gila Trout Returned to Fire Damaged Areas

High School Students Get Hands on Learning

Service Personnel Attend Round Table Discussion with Secretary of Labor

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Last updated: August 2, 2021