Holistic Approaches to Conservation of Desert Wetland Ecosystems
Dr. Evan Carson of the MSB Division of Fishes is one of the authors of a recently published book that highlights collaborative efforts at El Pandeño Spring in Julimes, Chihuahua. This holistic project, which encompassed the spring and its surroundings, is the flagship of a larger model for conservation of desert wetlands in arid lands of México.
El Pandeño Spring is highly modified from its natural state, yet it maintains a remarkable suite of native species and even species only found at this site, including the Julimes pupfish. Researchers focused their efforts on this pupfish, but were also interested in a rare isopod, mud snails, and a mosquitofish never described by science. Scientists worked with local landowners and farmers to restore a former marsh, but they also worked to ensure sustainable development of water resources, which are essential for crop irrigation in the community. The authors are happy to report that this cooperative, holistic approach to restoration resulted in a rebound of the pupfish population.