White paper on new Mexican trout and plea for conservation action

Dean A. Hendrickson (deanhend-in-mail.utexas.edu)
Fri, 31 Mar 2006 18:46:39 -0600

To anyone who might be interested,

The "Truchas Mexicanas" team (
http://www.utexas.edu/tmm/tnhc/fish/research/truchas_mexicanas/ and
http://www.americanfishes.com/mexico/) recently discovered another native
Mexican trout that our fieldwork ending just a week ago indicates is
critically endangered. We quickly produced the attached "white paper" in
hopes of facilitating rapid implementation of a protection and management
effort. As the white paper explains, we feel considerable urgency to
initiate protection and recovery efforts for this rare fish and are
looking for help in that endeavor. We have established both a fund for
monetary contributions and a mechanism for interested volunteers to
contribute their time and expertise. Please peruse the white paper and if
you are interested in getting involved, let us know at

Please feel free to distribute this white paper to others who might be

Should you have problems with the attachment, it will soon be available
on the Truchas Mexicanas and other web sites and its abstract follows
below in the body of this message.

Thank you,


Conservation of the Conchos Trout: a white paper on history of its
discovery, report on its status, and an urgent plea for action
Dean A. Hendrickson, Bernard Kuhajda, Richard Mayden, David Neely, David
Propst, Joseph Tomelleri and Ralph F. Cutter (following discussions with
other Truchas Mexicanas (
http://www.utexas.edu/tmm/tnhc/fish/research/truchas_mexicanas) team
members (see list on last page) during the team's March 2006 fieldwork)
March 31, 2006


A broad-scale survey of potential trout habitats in upper tributaries of
the Rmo Conchos of Chihuahua, Mixico resulted in the re-discovery in 2005
of a long-lost native, endemic, and now endangered, undescribed trout
species that we call the ^SConchos Trout.^T We are currently in the
process of scientifically describing this rare trout, the only native
Mexican trout known from an Atlantic drainage. Our extensive field
efforts to date clearly indicate that this species was formerly much more
widely distributed historically. Though surveys should continue, our
extensive field surveys found only one small isolated and extremely
vulnerable population, leaving us less than optimistic that many other,
if any, additional populations will be found.

Persistence of this new critically endangered endemic Conchos Trout
clearly requires rapid conservation action. Our consensus expert opinion
is that we cannot over-emphasize the urgency of protection for this
critically endangered population of this unique trout, and so we have
produced this ^Swhite paper^T in hopes that it might encourage others to
join us in initiating appropriate conservation programs. The potentially
viable population in Arroyo Ureyna is restricted to a short reach of a
very small stream where it and another newly discovered, undescribed fish
species, a sucker (and likely another unique taxon), could be relatively
easily protected, studied and managed. Additionally, adjoining arroyos
where the species recently occurred offer the possibility of restoring
native fish populations to them following appropriate protection and
habitat restoration efforts.

All members of our highly qualified and diversely specialized, binational
^STruchas Mexicanas^T team stand prepared to join collaborators and
invest personal resources in hands-on actions to help this new species
persist. We recommend immediate establishment of a small reserve centered
around currently occupied habitat and adjacent streams having suitable
habitat, combined with education and compensation of local residents for
their cooperation with reserve management. We recognize that we are
largely ignorant of the local political and cultural systems via which
conservation actions will have to proceed and are limited with regard to
our ability to raise funds. We thus hope that readers of this white paper
will add their financial and in-kind support and additional expertise to
help us conserve the Conchos Trout!

Dean A. Hendrickson, Ph.D.
Curator of Ichthyology, University of Texas, Texas Memorial Museum, Texas
Natural History Collections, PRC 176 / R4000, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin,
TX 78758-4445 U.S.A. Phone 512 471-9774; FAX 512 471-9775;

Section of Integrative Biology (office PAT 624), 1 University Station
#C0930, The University of Texas-in-Austin, Austin, Texas 78712 USA.
Phone 512 232-5502; http://www.biosci.utexas.edu/IB

E-mail: deanhend-in-mail.utexas.edu;
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