Description: The upper Gila River in New Mexico is one of the few unobstructed rivers in the Colorado River Basin with largely intact native fish populations, including four federally listed and one state listed species.Freshwater systems throughout the West continue to be threatened by human encroachment and water development. Methodologies or decision support tools to evaluate resource management practices that foster an understanding of how fish species adapt to the effects of climate change are critical to future resource management planning.
Tabular Data: Defining Ecosystem Water Needs of the Upper Gila River and Assessing the Impacts of Climate Chang
Final Report BOR R12AP80915 FY12: Defining Ecosystem Water Needs of the Upper Gila River and Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change
Final Report Executive Summary: The Nature Conservancy and a team of 14 academic partners (the project team) received funding from the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program and the Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative in 2012 to conduct this Gila River Flow Needs Assessment. The assessment describes the existing condition of the Gila River in the Cliff-Gila Valley and examines the potential impacts of CUFA diversion and climate change on the riparian and aquatic ecosystem. The project team was assisted by 35 academic, agency and consulting scientists who have expertise in some aspect of the Gila River’s hydrology and ecology. This larger team of scientists provided input on a review draft of this assessment...
The substantially natural hydrography of the upper Gila River supports one of the highest levels of aquatic and riparian biodiversity in the region, including the largest complement of native fishes and some of the best remaining riparian habitat in the lower Colorado River Basin. Native vegetation dominates the broad and structurally diverse floodplain, creating habitat for hundreds of birds and other wildlife. Two of the Gila’s fish species, spikedace and loach minnow, and a neotropical migratory bird, the southwestern willow flycatcher, are federally listed as endangered. The yellow-billed cuckoo, a candidate species for listing, nests in the Cliff-Gila Valley. Changes to the river’s hydrology, including peak...
Freshwater systems are critically imperiled and continue to be threatened by human encroachment and water development. The upper Gila River in New Mexico is one of the last unobstructed rivers in the Colorado River basin with a mostly intact native fish fauna, including two federally listed and one state-listed fish species. Kansas State University will develop methodologies or decision support tools to assess or evaluate current or existing resource management practices to learn and adapt to the effects of climate change on fish species. The researchers will investigate how the connectivity of the Gila River habitat impacts the fish population with respect to the behavior of native and non-native species.
Executive Summary: Our project combined field surveys of fish communities and habitat characteristics with estimates of population genetic structure to identify and evaluate critical factors influencing fish communities in the Gila River basin of New Mexico. Fish communities were structured along a strong habitat gradient associated with stream size, with distinct differences in the distribution of native and nonnative fishes. Nonnative warm-water species generally occurred in mainstem habitats, whereas coldwater nonnative salmonids occurred in high elevation tributaries. Habitat affinities of native species varied, with some occurring in mainstem habitats and others in tributaries. Several native species, such...