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Live-streaming camera offers a glimpse into the lives of desert pupfish

PHOENIX — Those curious about the underwater lives of Arizona’s desert pupfish can tune in to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s newest wildlife live-streaming camera.

The desert pupfish camera is located in the cienega habitat at the Red Mountain Campus of Mesa Community College, which has partnered to conserve this endangered fish and other wildlife species. The cienega pond houses a variety of native wildlife, including Gila topminnows (another endangered fish), long-finned dace, lowland leopard frogs and Sonoran mud turtles.

“Desert pupfish are among our most beautiful native fishes,” said Randy Babb, AZGFD Watchable Wildlife Program manager. “They are well adapted to harsh environments – they can tolerate water with low oxygen levels and salinity three times that of sea water in addition to temperatures exceeding 110 degrees. Part of this project is being done to establish literal gene pools for conservation efforts to ensure these important fishes are not lost to future generations.”

Read more: Live-streaming camera offers a glimpse into the lives of desert pupfish

Western Native Trout Initiative Offers Funding Opportunities for Conservation Projects

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) and its partners are once again offering opportunities for community organizations to tap into dollars to restore or recover western native trout in the rivers, lakes and watersheds where they are found. The 2017 Small Grants Program Request for Proposals will be accepting applications until June 16, 2017.

The program specifically funds innovative projects that jump-start or complete smaller, high-impact efforts. Projects considered for funding under the Small Grants Program may include riparian or instream habitat restoration, barrier removal or construction, population or watershed assessments needed for prioritization and planning, water leases or acquisitions to improve instream flows, and native trout-focused community outreach and education.  Individual projects can be funded at a maximum of $3,000.

Read more: Western Native Trout Initiative Offers Funding Opportunities for Conservation Projects

Annual report on Lesser Prairie-Chicken released

Lesser Prairie-ChickenWAFWA Reports on 2016 Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Plan Conservation Progress

On March 31, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service its third annual report detailing achievements under the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan. Among other highlights, WAFWA reported on the purchase of an ecologically significant piece of property in Kansas, which permanently protects nearly 30,000 acres of high-quality lesser prairie-chicken habitat.

The range-wide plan is a collaborative effort of the state wildlife agencies of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado and is administered by WAFWA. It was developed to promote conservation by providing a blueprint for lesser prairie-chicken conservation through voluntary cooperation of landowners, land management agencies and industry participants. This plan allows participants to continue operations while restoring and maintaining habitat and reducing development impacts to the bird and its habitat.

Read more: Annual report on Lesser Prairie-Chicken released

Aerial Surveys to Document Lesser Prairie-Chicken Population Trends

Lesser Prairie Chicken(March 7, 2017) - Aerial surveys will begin March 16 and run through mid-May in five states containing lesser prairie-chicken habitat. The surveys are conducted annually by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) to document population trends and how the bird is responding to management strategies identified in the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan.

The range-wide plan is a collaborative effort of WAFWA and the state wildlife agencies of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. It was developed to ensure conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken with voluntary cooperation of landowners and industry. The plan allows agriculture producers and industry to continue operations while reducing impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat.

Read more: Aerial Surveys to Document Lesser Prairie-Chicken Population Trends

Mexican Wolf Population Gains

mexican wolf

2016 Mexican wolf population survey reveals gains for experimental population

ALBUQUERQUE – The Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team (IFT) completed the annual year­-end population survey, documenting a minimum of 113 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico at the end of 2016.  This compares with a minimum of 97 wild wolves in 2015.

“We are encouraged by these numbers, but these 2016 results demonstrate we are still not out of the woods with this experimental population and its anticipated contribution to Mexican wolf recovery,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle. “Our goal is to achieve an average annual growth rate of 10 percent in the Mexican wolf population.  Although there was a one-year population decline in 2015, due in part to a high level of mortality and a lower pup survival rate, there are now more Mexican wolves in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona. The Service and our partners remain focused and committed to making this experimental population genetically healthy and robust so that it can contribute to recovery of the Mexican wolf in the future. We all understand the challenges we face as we try to increase the wild population of this endangered species."

Read more: Mexican Wolf Population Gains

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