Conservation Status of Texas Freshwater Fishes and Protected Species Recommendations

Date

2020-01-24

Authors

Birdsong, Timothy
Bean, Megan
Mayes, Kevin
Robertson, Sarah
Curtis, Stephen

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Abstract

Texas harbors 191 species of native freshwater fishes, 91 of which are considered imperiled. A litany of regulatory and voluntary-based conservation measures are routinely implemented to restore and preserve the diversity of Texas freshwater fishes. Use of specific conservation tools, programs, funding, and other resources available for freshwater fish conservation are generally limited to specific sets of species designated on particular lists, such as the lists of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and State Threatened or Endangered Species (State T&E), among others. For example, freshwater fishes listed as SGCN are prioritized by TPWD for voluntary-based investments in research, monitoring, habitat restoration, and habitat protection. Those species also receive special consideration as TPWD provides conservation recommendations to other local, state, and federal agencies through regulatory-based consultations on projects that have the potential to alter freshwater systems. Additional regulatory protections are available for freshwater fishes listed as State T&E. This includes a substantial increase in the civil restitution value of State T&E fishes (considered a deterrent for responsible parties), with each State Endangered fish valued at US $1,000 per individual and each State Threatened fish valued at $500 per individual. Regulatory oversight by TPWD of scientific and zoological collection of freshwater fishes, stocking of fishes into public waters, commercial fishing activities in public waters, disturbances to State-owned streambeds, and exotic species management must also ensure that no adverse impacts occur to State T&E fishes. This presentation will profile State resources available for the conservation of freshwater fishes; discuss conservation implications for listing of species as SGCN or State T&E; describe the species status assessment approach and stakeholder input process used to identify species recommended for inclusion on these two lists; and outline the remaining steps and anticipated timelines for completing the next revisions of these two protected species lists.

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