Fisheries and Aquatic Conservation
Southwest Region
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Our Stories



Below are highlights of the Southwest Region Fisheries Program activities and accomplishments on behalf of our dedicated personnel.

Ottine Dam before removalOttine Dam Removal Will Benefit Fish and Wildlife in San Marcos River

The much anticipated removal of the 104 year old historical dam located on the San Marcos River in Gonzales County is finally underway. The dam damaged by a storm in 2008 was originally scheduled to be removed in 2012. 

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Male Gila trout that danced with Wiese on his lineLiving the Dream
Dances with Gila Trout

Nate Wiese - Many times in my U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service career I’ve pinched myself to make sure I was not dreaming. My first trip to Frye Mesa Reservoir in the Coronado National Forest in southeastern Arizona was one of those times.

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Rocky Mountain Youth Corps group photoRocky Mountain Youth Corps Contribute to Gila Trout Recovery

Mora National Fish Hatchery (Hatchery) and Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge co-funded a crew from the Rocky Mountain Youth Corp (RMYC) this summer, with each site hosting the crew for approximately four weeks.

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Dominic Barrett and Jr HuntersArizona Youth Turkey Shoot

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, Youth Outdoors Unlimited, Inc., and the National Wild Turkey Federation hosted the 2015 Junior Turkey Hunter Camp in eastern Arizona. Sponsors included the White Mountain Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Arizona Elk Society, and the Southern Arizona Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation. 

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USFWS Biological Science Aid, Daniel Gallegos, from Mora National Fish Hatchery pauses for a photo while working on removing dead eggs from the incubation trays in the 2015 spawning season. Credit: USFWS.Daniel Gallegos: Summer Job Leads to Change in Long Term Career Plans

I recently sat down with Daniel Gallegos, a current Biological Science Aid Intern at Mora National Fish Hatchery (NFH) in Mora, New Mexico, to talk with him about how he came to choose a career in fish and wildlife.

Gallegos said it all started with a visit to his high school counselor at the end of his senior year in 2012 to find a job for the summer; little did he know how much his future would change after that visit. 

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USFWS staff lead students in an aquatic bug activityFourth Year of the Native Fish in the Classroom Program Successfully Completed

Cool! This was the general consensus of the students I talked with about releasing the fish they raised in their classrooms back into their native environment of the Rio Grande.

The Native Fish in the Classroom (NFIC) Program administered by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Fish Biologist, Angela James, of the New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (NMFWCO) has concluded its fourth successful year.

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The Mora NFH living stream at the Outdoor ClassroomMora Outdoor Classroom

The annual Mora School District Outdoor Classroom is an effort coordinated by the Western Mora Soil & Water Conservation District to bring area students together with interested State and Federal Agencies to learn about natural resource conservation.

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USFWS Volunteer LogoNational Volunteer Week

For the April 12, 2015 to April 18, 2015 National Volunteer Week we will be highlighting some of the volunteers in the Fisheries Program. Our volunteers are the backbone to all that we do and a true asset to our mission.

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Rio Grande cutthroat trout in their new home at Emerson Elementary SchoolThe Fish Are Here!

We arrived at Emerson Elementary School just as students were returning to their classrooms from recess. As we made our way down the hall moving through the sea of chaotic youth scrambling to get to their destination we heard excited whispers of “The fish are here!”, as students saw us and recognized U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) Fisheries Biologist Angela James who was leading us to our destination.

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Rebecca Cook working on a fish passage siteSeasonal Hire Success Story

Rebecca Cook joined the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) Southwest Region’s New Mexico Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (NMFWCO) in June 2014 as a seasonal hire for the Rio Grande silvery minnow team.

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Whiskey Creek Gila trout in tank at hatcheryWhiskey Creek Gila Trout Lineage Rescued from Fire are Returned to the Wild

Facing the devastating effects from the aftermath of the large Baldy Complex fire in 2012, Gila Trout and other fish populations were at risk of a complete loss. In a unified and coordinated effort, biologists with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, New Mexico Game & Fish Department, and members of the Trout Unlimited sportsman’s group raced against the clock to save as many of the genetically distinct populations as possible.

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TYCC members working on fish passage projectTYCC Group Puts in a Hard Days Work on Fish Passage Project on Pueblo Lands

Ask a group of teenagers their idea of fun and you might get answers like hanging out with friends, dodging opponents during a game of laser tag or playing their favorite video games. But for a group of Native American youth from several of New Mexico’s pueblos, fun meant working outside on a warm, sunny day hauling tons of rock with other tribal youth, community volunteers and staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an effort to restore fish passages along the lower Santa Fe River on Cochiti Pueblo.

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  Archived Currents Publications

Social Media Outlets

AZFWCO Facebook

Mora NFH Facebook

Desert Fish Habitat Partnership Facebook

Friends of the Alligator Snapping Turtle (FAST)

Friends of SMARC Facebook

Southwest Social Media Hub

Service Social Media Hub




Endangered Species Bulletin

Station Fact Sheets


Additional Links

National Fisheries Home

Fish & Wildlife Conservation

Fish Hatcheries

Fish Technology Centers

Fish Health Centers

Fish Passage Program

Tishomingo Refuge Ecology & Education Society (TREES)

Last updated: April 20, 2017