Pecos River
  • Southwest Rivers Program

    ​In the southwestern United States, several iconic rivers, including the Pecos, Rio Grande, Colorado, Gila and San Juan, wind their way through arid landscapes. These rivers are the lifeblood of the region, providing critical resources for local communities and wildlife. As human population and development increases, the demands on these watersheds also increase, altering habitats and resources for wildlife. 

    The Southwest Rivers Program was formed through a partnership by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), public agencies and corporations to develop new strategies and provide additional resources to existing efforts to address the pressing conservation needs of the region.  

    The Southwest Rivers Program is currently focusing on two watersheds. The Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative will take place in in New Mexico and West Texas, and the Middle and Upper Rio Grande will take place in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

    Wildlife species found in the desert Southwest are uniquely adapted to their harsh but beautiful landscape, and many are found nowhere else on earth. This is particularly true for fish and other aquatic species that call the narrow ribbons of rivers home. Many of these species are now found only in small portions of their historic ranges, as the rivers they call home have been significantly altered by human development. 

    The native grasslands of the Chihuahuan desert are also at risk. Many birds, such as the Chestnut Collared Longspur, migrate more than one thousand miles from summer ranges on the Northern Great Plains to very restricted winter ranges. Others, including the iconic pronghorn, have seen their ranges diminished by fragmentation and historic management practices that have led to increases in undesirable brush species.

    The Southwest Rivers Program will:

    • ​Improve stream corridors, riparian systems and associated habitats
    • Improve rangeland for grassland species 
    • Develop a flow and habitat program with partners in the Middle Rio Grande

    Significant planning has already taken place in the region and many of the strategies for successful conservation activities are well-known and tested. However, they lack the funding needed to be implemented. With strategic funding focused on achieving measurable conservation outcomes, the Southwest Rivers Program will fund effective conservation outcomes for both people and wildlife, and reinvigorate habitats that have been degraded in the past. 


 Conservation Programs


 Application Information


 Program Information

  • (Updated: 11/2/2017)


 Staff Representatives

  • Director, Rocky Mountain Regional Office






 Due Dates

  • 3/31/2018
    Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative Notification Deadline