Environmental Management

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 631–641 | Cite as

Identifying Preservation and Restoration Priority Areas for Desert Fishes in an Increasingly Invaded World

  • Thomas K. PoolEmail author
  • Angela L. Strecker
  • Julian D. Olden


A commonly overlooked aspect of conservation planning assessments is that wildlife managers are increasingly focused on habitats that contain non-native species. We examine this management challenge in the Gila River basin (150,730 km2), and present a new planning strategy for fish conservation. By applying a hierarchical prioritization algorithm to >850,000 fish records in 27,181 sub-watersheds we first identified high priority areas (PAs) termed “preservation PAs” with high native fish richness and low non-native richness; these represent traditional conservation targets. Second, we identified “restoration PAs” with high native fish richness that also contained high numbers of non-native species; these represent less traditional conservation targets. The top 10 % of preservation and restoration PAs contained common native species (e.g., Catostomus clarkii, desert sucker; Catostomus insignis, Sonora sucker) in addition to native species with limited distributions (i.e., Xyrauchen texanus, razorback sucker; Oncorhynchus gilae apache, Apache trout). The top preservation and restoration PAs overlapped by 42 %, indicating areas with high native fish richness range from minimally to highly invaded. Areas exclusively identified as restoration PAs also encompassed a greater percentage of native species ranges than would be expected by the random addition of an equivalent basin area. Restoration PAs identified an additional 19.0 and 26.6 % of the total ranges of two federally endangered species—Meda fulgida (spikedace) and Gila intermedia (Gila chub), respectively, compared to top preservation PAs alone—despite adding only 5.8 % of basin area. We contend that in addition to preservation PAs, restoration PAs are well suited for complementary management activities benefiting native fishes.


Spatial conservation prioritization Native fish management Freshwater landscapes 



The authors graciously acknowledge support from the USGS National Gap Analysis Program and USGS Status and Trends Program. We thank Joanna Whittier and Craig Paukert for their invaluable contributions to the LCRB Aquatic Gap Analysis Project, and Claire Horner-Devine, Jennifer Ruesink, and Christian Torgersen for their thoughtful comments on early versions of the manuscript and their ongoing intellectual support during the project. We also thank the three anonymous reviewers that contributed significantly to the quality of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 220 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas K. Pool
    • 1
    Email author
  • Angela L. Strecker
    • 2
  • Julian D. Olden
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science and ManagementPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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