Status Assessment and Watershed Planning for Plateau Shiner, Nueces River Shiner, and Nueces Roundnose Minnow in the Upper Nueces River Basin

Date

2008-12-01

Authors

Edwards, Robert J.
Garrett, Gary P.
Reeves, Kerry
Smith, Ryan

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Abstract

The Upper Nueces River Basin is composed of three main tributary systems: the Nueces, Frio, and Sabinal rivers. All three rivers were designated as Ecologically Significant Stream Segments by the Texas Water Development Board in regional water planning. The Texas Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 2005) and The Nature Conservancy (The Nature Conservancy 2004) have also designated the three rivers as high priorities. Additionally, about 60% of the Edwards Aquifer recharge water comes from the upper portion of the Nueces River basin, making riparian health important for plant, animal, and human communities throughout the region. It is thought riparian integrity in these rivers has declined, posing a threat to priority species and habitats, not to mention human use. One possible indicator of this decline is the apparent decrease in range and abundance of several fish species, notably but not exclusively, the plateau shiner (Cyprinella lepida), Nueces River shiner (Cyprinella sp.), and the Nueces roundnose minnow (Dionda serena). These species are thought to depend on perennial relative flows of clear water, and thus serve as an indicator of hydrologic function and water quality. We provide information on the status and range of these three species and their utility as indicators of hydrological integrity and watershed health. We also provide data that can be useful for a community-based action plan to help maintain the ecological integrity in critical portions of the three river basins.

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NOTE: Though this report states "Vouchers of all species collected were preserved, fixed in 10% formalin and preserved in 75% ethanol and placed for curation in the Texas Natural History Collection at the University of Texas at Austin", as of 22 August, 2018, the specimens had not been catalogued in that collection and searches for them by collection staff and the authors failed to find them.

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