Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020NM331B

Investigating the effects of reservoir water releases on spawning activities of fishes in the Pecos River

Institute: New Mexico
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $8,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $16,771

Principal Investigators: Jesse E. Filbrun

Abstract: Extreme drying across the southern Great Plains ecoregion threatens the persistence of native fishes1–6. Dam construction, water extraction, and climate change have fundamentally changed the physical habitat of New Mexico streams, collapsing native fish communities in favor of problematic nonnative assemblages1,3. This pattern of ecological change is well underway in the Pecos River, wherein native minnows are increasingly threatened by problematic carps, sunfishes, and catfishes. This problem of increasing ecological dysfunction and biodiversity loss is among the most pressing issues facing managers of New Mexico’s surface waters. To tackle this problem, I seek to determine the effects of scheduled reservoir water releases on reproductive effort by native and nonnative fishes in the Pecos River near Fort Sumner, NM. I propose quantifying adult spawning activities and egg and larval production and survival relative to reservoir water releases. I plan to focus investigations on pelagic spawning minnows, including speckled chub and plains minnow, although I am also interested in potential impacts on nonnative and problematic fishes.