New Mexico Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office
Southwest Region

Projects & Activities

Photo of service members seining at Big Bend
Seining at Big Bend. Credit: USFWS
Photo of a service member completing a PCR sample
PCR sampling. Credit: USFWS
Photo of  service members seining the Pecos River
Pecos seining. Credit: USFWS
Photo of a  VIE tag being inserted into a silvery minnow
VIE tag Rio Grande silvery minnow. Credit: USFWS
Photo of a PIT tag being inserted into a colorado pikeminnow
PIT tagging a Colorado pikeminnow. Credit: USFWS
Rio Grande silvery minnow sanctuary
Rio Grande silvery minnow sanctuary. Credit: USFWS

Pecos River

The NMFWCO conducts routine monitoring of the Pecos River fish community, with emphasis on the federally threatened Pecos River bluntnose shiner, Notropis simus pecosensis,from Ft. Sumner, NM downstream to Brantley Reservoir.  Status and trends of the Pecos bluntnose shiner is tracked using two estimates of abundance: catch rate (Pecos bluntnose shiner /100 m2) and percent abundance (number of Pecos bluntnose shiner divided by all fish collected).  This information is used to track long-term abundance trends and how these trends are influenced by water operations in the Basin.  Monitoring efforts have been on-going since 1989.  Additionally, NMFWCO routinely works with staff from Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge in the surveying of the fisheries resources on refuge lands.

Project Lead:  Stephen R. Davenport; 505-342-9900 ext. 106;

Upper/Middle Rio Grande

The NMFWCO conducts research and long-term monitoring investigations of fish resources throughout the Rio Grande Basin, providing expertise to other management agencies and Native American Tribes and Pueblos.  Within the Rio Grande, these projects are mostly related to conservation of the federally endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow, Hybognathus amarus.  Current projects include coordinating and carrying out Rio Grande silvery minnow salvage, egg monitoring and collection, acquisition of wild fish for broodstock maintenance, augmentation and fish community monitoring, and movement studies.  In addition, NMFWCO assists with recovery implementation and cooperates with other Service stations, agencies and universities on various studies, and provides and operates on-site research facilities. For more information on these projects and other projects being conducted in the Middle Rio Grande please visit the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program's website at

Project Lead: Thomas Archdeacon; 505-342-9900 ext. 105;

Upper Colorado/San Juan River Basin

The NMFWCO is the principal investigator of a long-term program aimed at the control of large-bodied nonnative fishes, primarily channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus and common carp Cyprinus carpio, as a management tool for the recovery of the federally listed razorback sucker Xyrauchen texanus and Colorado pikeminnow Ptychocheilus lucius.  In addition to nonnative fish removal, NMFWCO has assumed the lead responsibility for augmentation efforts for the two federally protected species.  A component of this includes the co-management, with the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife, of a series of razorback sucker grow-out ponds located southwest of Farmington, NM, on Navajo Agricultural Products Industries (NAPI) lands.  The NMFWCO is also responsible for the pre-release acclimatization of hatchery-reared Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker designed to improve survivability and short term retention of stocked fish.  Staff from NMFWCO serve on both the management and technical committees of the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program (SJRIP). For more information on these projects and other projects being conducted in the San Juan River please visit the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program's website at

Project Lead:  Jason E. Davis; 505-342-9900 ext. 108;

Gila River Basin

The NMFWCO activities in the Gila River Basin embody the concept of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCC) through interagency partnerships and range-wide management approaches in dealing with environmental threats such as climate change, wildfires, and nonnative fish invasion for the recovery and conservation of Gila trout Oncorhynchus gilae. Gila trout recovery in NM is a collaborative effort among NMFWCO, Mora NFH, Gila National Forest, and NMDGF, Conservation Services Division.  Activities associated with Gila trout conservation include population monitoring, mechanical removal of nonnative fishes, stream restoration, and fish evacuation as a result of wildfires and drought.  Due in part to NMFWCO’s efforts, the Gila trout was downlisted in 2006.  In association with downlisting, certain waters in the Gila Basin were designated as “recreational streams” which allows anglers a unique opportunity to fish for one of only a few trout native to the desert southwest.

Project Lead:  Jim E. Brooks; 505-342-9900 ext 102;

Cooperative Mexico Fisheries Issues

Since 1995, NMFWCO personnel have participated in a variety of Mexico fish surveys and meetings for the purposes of characterization of native species distribution and status, threats, and possible management actions to remove or minimize threats.  This has included both work on shared species, i.e. Yaqui fishes, and initiation of conservation efforts for others, such as a variety of native trout and catfishes in the Sierra Madre Occidental.  Close working relationships have been built with numerous Mexican scientists, State personnel, and NGOs, notably the World Wildlife Fund.  Field based efforts for native species conservation in Mexico have been altered by ongoing conflict in many interior regions of Mexico.  As a consequence ,field survey efforts have been either halted or restricted in timing and location.  Most of our efforts to date have concentrated in the State of Chihuahua.  We continue to work closely with peers at the Universidad de Sonora, Hermosillo, Mexico, on native fishes inventory, monitoring, threats assessment and reporting results to appropriate Mexican federal and State agencies.

Project Lead:  Jim E. Brooks; 505-342-9900 ext. 102;

Aquatic Invasive Species

Beginning in 2005, NMFWCO received funding from FWS, Region 2 Fisheries and Aquatic Habitat Conservation Division, to initiate long-term monitoring for aquatic invasive species (AIS).  Initial efforts focused on the identification of high priority water bodies to monitor for the presence/absence of zebra and quagga mussels.  In addition to identifying specific water bodies for monitoring, NMFWCO was charged with developing cooperative partnerships with state, federal and tribal governments and private interests to assist the Service with these efforts.

Since then, NMFWCO has worked closely with federal and state partners in efforts to prevent the introduction of zebra or quagga mussel into New Mexico waters.  Much of this effort is focused on educating the public about the life history of these mussels, pathways for introduction, and the risks associated with their introduction and establishment.  For more information regarding these efforts please visit the 100th Meridian Initiative website.

Project Lead:  Jason E. Davis; 505-342-9900 ext. 108;

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Last updated: December 10, 2014