Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative
The Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative supports conservation projects in the Pecos River Watershed, which extends from eastern New Mexico into West Texas, and comprises a large portion of the energy-rich Permian Basin. The initiative identifies strategic conservation opportunities and works to enhance and restore the natural resources and wildlife habitat in the region.
The Pecos River winds more than 900 miles from its headwaters in the ponderosa pine forests of northern New Mexico through the Chihuahuan Desert grasslands of southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. The river supports some of the most biodiverse arid and semiarid ecosystems in the world. These ecosystems play host to a large number of fish and other aquatic species found nowhere else.
The habitats dependent on the Pecos River and its tributaries maintain a precarious existence as development, invasive species and unintended consequences of land management choices fragment the landscape, allow for encroachment by invasive species and strain scarce water resources.
Native grasslands that historically covered a vast amount of the region have dwindled to just a fraction of their former extent and productivity. This puts pressure not only on the hardy wildlife that inhabit those areas, such as pronghorn and migratory birds, but also on working ranches that need high-quality forage.
The Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative will:
- Strengthen the health of existing habitats along the Pecos River and its tributaries in eastern New Mexico and West Texas
- Protect some of the last remaining populations of native fish and other aquatic species found only in the Chihuahuan Desert
- Improve the management and function of native grasslands
- Address water quality and scarcity concerns for wildlife and agricultural uses
- Identify opportunities to expand species to areas of their range where they have been lost, or bolster small remnant populations