• Red Rocks with water in front of them in the desert.
  • Clouds behind Joshua Tree and bushes.
  • Desert flowers blooming in bushes in front of mountains in the desert.
  • Setting sun reflecting of clouds of orange and blue behind a joshua tree.
  • Hoover Dam intake towers with water behind the dam showing that it is not full.

2011 SCIENCE PROJECTS

Summary Project Lead Partners
Metacommunity Dynamics of Gila River Fishes

Goal: If dispersal dynamics of native and nonnative fishes can be predicted by life history strategy, this research will provide a general framework for conservation that considers how community interaction and responses to extreme events (e.g., those predicted by climate change) are influenced by fragmenting populations. By developing decisions support models, hosting workshops, and presenting our findings to regional stakeholder groups, we aim to provide conservation and water resource agencies critical information they can use to inform conservation plans.

Dr. Keith Gido
Kansas State University

University of New Mexico
The Nature Conservancy
Gila National Forest
Bureau of Land Management, Las Cruces District
New Mexico Department of Fish and Game
Predicting Effects of Climate Change on Riparian Obligate Species in the Southwestern United States

Goal: A central scientific challenge is to generate quantitative predictions of how changes in water availability will affect the amount and quality of riparian wildlife habitat. This project will result in a decision support tool that provides scientific information needed required to restore, enhance and mitigate effects of climate change on riparian vegetation and associated wildlife as well as identify those areas that may be of greatest risk to predicted change.

Dr. Matthew Johnson
Northern Arizona University
Arizona Game and Fish Department
USGS Western Fisheries Research Center
University of Arizona
The Nature Conservancy
National Park Service, Southern Colorado Plateau Network
Springs and Seeps Inventory, Assessment and Management Planning Project

Goal: Work collaboratively with land and resource managers to identify priority watersheds for spring and seep assessments in the Sky Island region of southeastern Arizona, and conduct inventories and assessments using trained volunteers, professional staff and partner personnel. Development of this volunteer monitoring program will provide a model for monitoring climate sensitive resources with limited funding. Develop a regional database for housing and serving historic and newly acquired data from cooperating agencies. Utilize assessments of spring and seep management in conjunction with managers and experts to develop climate change adaptation strategies, decision-support tools and recommendations for management of priority areas.

Trevor Hare
Sky Island Alliance

Pima County Association of Governments
Pima County
Santa Cruz County

Resource Management in a Changing Climate: Understanding the Relationships Between Water Quality and Golden Alga Distribution in the Pecos River, New Mexico and Texas

Goal: Golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) is a harmful algal species that can release toxins fatal to fishes, bivalves, crayfish, and gilled amphibians, resulting in immense ecological and economic impacts. This project will enhance understanding of environmental conditions, specifically water quality variables, which promote or regulate golden alga bloom formation in the Pecos River system. Managers will benefit from identifying specific attributes that promote golden alga bloom development and potential toxicity to aquatic species of concern.

Dr. Reynaldo Patiño
Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

Dr. Chris Taylor
Texas Tech University

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Office
Utility Guide to Rainwater/Stormwater Harvesting as an Adaptive Response to Climate Change

Goal: Relatively little guidance exists on how public utilities and agencies can evaluate the suitability and cost-effectiveness of water harvesting strategies to provide tangible and significant benefits to the community. This project will develop a prototype guidance tool for public utilities and agencies to use to evaluate the suitability and cost-effectiveness of rainwater and stormwater capture at various scales for multiple benefits to the community.

Susanna Eden
Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona

City of Tucson
Pima County Regional Flood Control District
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Cochise County
The American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA)
Sonoran Institute

Data Provision and Projected Impact of Climate Change on Fish Biodiversity within the Desert LCC

Goal: We will produce data and decision support tools for the conservation, restoration, and management of U.S. priority freshwater fishes in drainages shared by the U.S. and Mexico by compiling and normalizing biodiversity data for all fishes occurring in internationally shared drainages of the DLCC, exclusive of the Colorado and Gila drainages. We will then focus on the Rio Grande drainage where we will model current distributions of selected special interest fishes and project the models into the future under three different climate change scenarios. The results will demonstrate how changing climates will impose directional pressures that will likely tend to shift species distributions.

Dr. Dean A. Hendrickson
Dr.Sahotra Sarkar
University of Texas, Austin

Great Plains LCC
US Fish and Wildlife Service
University of New Mexico
Remote Acquisition of High Quality Topography (LIDAR) and Multispectral Imagery Data for the Rio Grande through Big Bend National Park: A Critical Need for Climate Change Mitigation Planning

Goal: Use LIDAR imagery to generate vegetation maps and terrain models for the 100-mile reach of the Rio Grande through Big Bend National Park and combine information with one-dimensional flow routing model and monitoring of tributary sediment to enhance ability to quantify future geomorphic and riparian vegetation changes, assess flood risk, evaluate habitat for key species, formulate climate-adapted responses and evaluate exotic plan eradication efforts.

Mark Briggs
World Wildlife Fund

Big Bend Conservation Cooperative
Big Bend National Park
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Utah State University
US Geological Survey
Sul Ross State University
State of Texas Upper Rio Grande Basin to Bay Expert Science Team
Rio Grande Joint Venture
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

A Landscape Approach for Fisheries Database Compilation and Predictive Modeling

Goal: Produce a defensible data set and decision tool for the conservation of fish and other aquatic and riparian species in Arizona by synthesizing and refining fisheries data and models at the watershed scale, including information on species distribution and abundance and landscape-scale species distribution models. Information collected will be used as part of Arizona Game and Fish Department's and the Western Governors' Association Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) and set the foundation on which managers can assess the impacts of water use, biological invasions, and climate change on biological resources in Arizona. Provide expertise and personnel to New Mexico for shared Species of Greatest Conservation Need.

Bill Stewart
Arizona Game and Fish Department

New Mexico Game and Fish Department
Western Governors’ Association
Desert Fish Habitat Partnership
University of Washington

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality