The iconic Apache trout is the state fish of Arizona. It is one of only two species of native trout in Arizona, historically occupying the waters of the upper White, Black, and Little Colorado Rivers in the White Mountains in the east-central part of the state. The species was federally listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and recovery efforts achieved a downlisting to threatened status in 2002. Apache trout now exist in more than twice the number of streams than when the fish was an endangered species.
This conservation program's actions complement and exceed population goals established by the Apache Trout Recovery Plan and help to ensure the long-term sustainability of the species.
The goal of NFWF's Apache trout initiative is to increase the abundance and distribution of Apache trout to meet biological criteria for removing this species from the threatened species list. This will ensure species sustainability in the face of changing environmental conditions.
Key conservation strategies for the Apache trout include:
- Metapopulation creation: the creation of three metapopulations will expand and connect isolated recovery streams, making populations less vulnerable to climatic changes, increase population numbers, and help maintain genetic diversity in populations.
- Habitat restoration: habitat restoration in small recovery streams will break “invisible barriers,” encouraging use of this habitat by trout and resulting in increased population sizes.
- Population and habitat assessment and monitoring: a long-term monitoring plan to assess population and habitat conditions is being developed and implemented.
- Barrier maintenance and monitoring: a long-term barrier maintenance and monitoring plan is being developed to ensure recovery streams are protected now and after delisting.
NFWF's Apache trout initiative has already restored 22 miles of stream habitat and has funded the removal of several invasive populations that will restore another 46 miles of stream. Additionally, the initiative has funded monitoring for 46 populations of Apache.
Applicants should identify how their proposed activities fit within the framework outlined in the Apache Trout Business Plan.