Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New Mexico
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

New Mexico Project

Gila National Forest Stream Temperature and Intermittency Monitoring Network for Species of Special Interest

April 2016 - December 2018


Participating Agencies

  • New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute

Management of imperiled fishes of greatest conservation need in the arid Southwest requires an understanding of their habitat. The importance of stream temperature is well recognized especially in light of a changing climate where there will be a major shift in temperature and precipitation in the 21st century. To this end, the 2016 WRRI Student Grant funded deployment of a stream temperature and intermittency-monitoring network in Willow Creek, Gila National Forest, New Mexico. Willow Creek is home to a population of Gila trout (Oncorhynchus gilae) that were once extirpated in the 2012 Whitewater-Baldy Wildfire. Preliminary data Willow Creek revealed a maximum seven-day weekly average temperature of 15.6°C. The maximum daily range increased from 11.28°C to 20.87°C. The maximum 2-hour average was 20.85°C. From the literature, the 7-day chronic sub-lethal temperature for Gila trout is 28.25°C. Thus, these temperatures throughout Willow Creek were not an immediate threat to Gila trout persistence in Willow Creek. Temperature data continues to be collected through the summer months when lowest flows occur. The implementation of this monitoring network will allow for further data collection and analysis of Willow Creek as a long-term recovery stream.

Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Wallin, T. Parameters affecting success of Gila trout recovery streams: An in depth analysis of habitat and and community factors on the productivity of Gila trout populations. Master of Science, New Mexico State University. November 2019