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

New Mexico Technical Assistance Activities

Stonefly from the Valles Caldera National Preserve

As part of our mission, each of the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit scientists and affiliated staff routinely provide technical assistance that includes data analysis, in-service training, GIS mapping, technical reviews of agency reports and management plans, captive breeding of imperiled fishes, to consultations of issues of state and regional importance to our cooperators. When Cooperator needs are beyond our area of expertise, we work to engage faculty and staff at NMSU.

New Mexico Unit scientists and affiliated staff serve as advisors to the Committee for Recovery of Rio Grande Silvery Minnow, Work Group for Conservation and Recovery of White Sands Pupfish, Workgroup for Recovery and Restoration of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout, and the New Mexico Rocky Mountain Foundation Project Advisory Committee just to name a few. The Unit spearheaded the information development and writing of New Mexico’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. The data used to develop the working document is currently housed at the Unit where it undergoes periodic revision to update the State’s most important strategic plan for conservation and planning of species at risk in New Mexico.

Description and Agency Provider(s) Date
Tracing the source of illegal pike introductions in Wyoming Reservoirs
Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Carleton July 2014
The Las Conchas Fire of 2011 is the largest fire in New Mexico history. In less than a week, one-third of the Valles Caldera National Preserve was burned. I am evaluating the recovery of the aqutic ecosystem through seasonal surveys of the streams.
Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico
Zeigler August 2011
Technical Advisory Team member for the BLM's Chihuahuan Desert Rapid Ecoregion Assessment.
Bureau of Land Management
Cain June 2013
State Delisting of the Peregrine Falcon in New Mexico
Carleton October 2012
Southwest Tribal Hatchery and USGS are working together to restore Rio Grande cutthroat trout to Mescalero Apache Reservation lands
Southwest Tribal Hatchery
Anderson, Zeigler, Galindo, Caldwell April 2009
Reviewed delisting proposal for removal of desert bighorn sheep from the New Mexico State Threatened and Endangered Species List.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Cain August 2010
Reviewed Environmental Impact Statement for Harvesting Oryx on San Andres National Wildlife Refuge. Reviewed and provided biological expertise in the drafting of SANWRs EIS for harvesting oryx, an exotic antelope that interferes with the Refuge?s primary mission of fostering the state-endangered desert bighorn sheep.
Bender March 2007
Review of rotenone and its toxicity effects on target and non-target organisms
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Caldwell May 2011
Restoration of Agua Chiquita Creek, Lincoln National Forest, represents a multi-agency effort
Mesilla Valley Fly Fishers
Caldwell, Zeigler, Kalb June 2011
Reintroduction of Fire as a tool to improve lesser prairie-chicken habitat in eastern New Mexico on BLM managed lands
Bureau of Land Management
Carleton January 2015
Redevelopment of aerial survey methodology for mule deer and pronghorn populations in New Mexico.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Cain April 2014
Reconstructing the life history movement patterns of an invasive fish species, northern pike, in the Little Snake River drainage, Wyoming
Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Carleton July 2014
Provided technical assistance to the NMDGF with River Otter Restoration
Caldwell October 2006
Provided review of fish contaminant data to assess potential effects in fish-eating mammals within the upper Middle Rio Grande basin.
Caldwell October 2007
Provided native fishes to the Museum of Natural History in Las Cruces. Provided assistance with the design and set-up of the exhibit as well as periodic evaluation of diet and water quality.
Caldwell March 2004
Provided expertise on the design of boat-based nightlight surveys and alligator population trends in South Carolina.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Lawson, Jodice March 2021
Provide technical assistance to the living fish exhibit at the Las Cruces Museum of Natural History (~30 hours)
Caldwell October 2007
Production of Pacific white shrimp using glandless (gossypol-free) cottonseed meal to assess the efficacy of feeding glandless cottonseed meal in the production of shrimp as a value-added product for the cotton growers in southern New Mexico.
Texas A&M University
Caldwell May 2011
Peer reviewer for the USFWS Roundtail Chub Species Status Assessment to inform the listing decison.
USFWS Ecological Services
Lawson October 2021
Natal sources of largemouth bass in Elephant Butte Reservoir, New Mexico: Microchemistry (<sup>87</sup>Sr:<sup>86</sup>Sr) signatures in fish otoliths are commonly used to reconstruct life history patterns, including natal origin. Of interest to fisheries managers and anglers is the successful contribution of stocked fish to augment popular sport fish populations.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Caldwell January 2019
Member of the Core Team for the Suwannee alligator snapping turtle Species Status Assessment, Conducted analyses for Future Conditions assessment, presented at RTM.
USFWS Ecological Services
Lawson, McGowan March 2021
Living fishes exhibit at the at the Las Cruces Museum of Natural History is supported through Dr. Caldwell's efforts and loan of fish.
Las Cruces Museum of Natural History
Caldwell October 2008
La Macha is a local wetland owned by the City of Las Cruces, but under the control of private citizens. I advised and assisted with water quality collection and analysis of the wetland before and after river water was diverted through the wetland. My students assisted with fish species identification.
Las Cruces City
Caldwell, Armstrong August 2019
Habitat Assessment for Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep--At the request of the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, I conducted a preliminary habitat assessment for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in an area impacted by wildfires. The tribe wanted to determine if the area was suitable for an introduction of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
Jicarilla Apache Tribe
Cain July 2016
Facilitator and decision analyst for the interagency Rosy Finch Working group (state, federal, and NGOs) to develop a research prioritization framework using value of information.
Rosy Finch Interagency Working Group
Lawson October 2021
Facilitation of Atlantic Coast Eastern Black Rail Adaptive Management Working Group annual meeting
US Fish and Wildlife Service Atlantic Coast Joint Venture
Lawson March 2021
Evaluation of population estimation methods (aerial sightability models), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. This resulted in the identification of weaknesses in survey strategies and estimators used by NMDGF, and the initiation of research to develop locally applicable population estimators for New Mexico?s varied habitats.
Bender November 2002
Evaluating the current habitat conditions of a large urban arroyo in the context of a proposed flood control project for the Army Corp of Engineers.
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
Boykin, Harings July 2014
Evaluated trapping techniques to reduce potential for injury to Mexican wolves.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Cain October 2010
Evaluated of long-term population trends of the state-endangered desert bighorn sheep, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, San Andres National Wildlife Refuge. This technical assistance was requested by USFWS to determine which factors (density dependence, precipitation, predation) were most important in determining long-term population dynamics of desert bighorn sheep on SANWR.
Bender January 2003
Elk population estimation and predation impacts of wolves, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Assisted NMDGF staff with developing accurate and corroborated estimates of elk population size and productivity in the Gila Mountains, and modeling the potential effects of predation by the endangered Mexican wolf on trends in elk populations.
Bender May 2007
Elk condition assessment, Valles Calderra National Preserve, NM. Captured and assessed for body condition and pregnancy ~30 adult cow elk for VCNP.
Bender April 2006
Elk capture, Santa Clara Pueblo, NM. Recaptured bull elk initially captured for Santa Clara Pueblo in November 2004 to retrieve movement data from GPS collars. Also captured and radio-collared adult cow elk for Pueblo biologists to aid their ongoing research on elk movements.
Bender June 2007
Differentiating tributaries of the Pend O’Reille river watershed to determine important areas of recruitment for west slope cutthroat trout
Idaho Game and Fish Department
Carleton, Quist March 2013
Differentiating tributaries of the Kootenai River Watershed and linking adult red band rainbow trout to their natal origins to support conservation and management.
Montana Game Fish and Parks
Carleton, Quist March 2013
Development of deer productivity survey protocols, New Hampshire Department of Fish and Wildlife. Worked with NH?s Deer Biologist in developing a protocol to collect productivity data on NH?s white-tailed deer herd.
Bender October 2006
Development of a wildlife certification program for Mexican Biologists
Carleton January 2015
Development of a burn plan on the Weaver Ranch in eastern New Mexico to benefit lesser prairie-chickens
Graslans Charitable Trust
Carleton March 2015
Developed protocol for analysis of body condition of mountain lions collected during predator removal programs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, San Andres National Wildlife Refuge.
Bender May 2002
Developed habitat management plans for San Andres National Wildlife Refuge with goal of enhancing habitat for the state-endangered desert bighorn sheep and desert mule deer, a Species of Concern in NM.
Bender July 2004
Developed Bayesian elk habitat model and provided instructions on model application, Pacific Power and Light.
Bender December 2000
Determining the source of non-native pike in Wyoming Reservoirs
Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Carleton October 2014
Coordinated Rio Grande Silvery Minnow propagation and augmentation workshop, New Mexico State University.
Caldwell January 2002
Conducted elk, mule deer, and oryx composition surveys for White Sands Missile Range.
Bender September 2007
Conducted composition surveys for New Mexico Department of Game and Fish in GMUs 34 and 36. Also provided training for NMDGF biologists on composition surveying.
Bender September 2007
Characterizing strontium stable isotopes of otoliths to reconstruct natal origin and movement patterns of walleye throughout New Mexico reservoirs.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Carleton October 2014
Chair, Peer-review Panel for White Sands Pupfish status and listing coordinated by New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Caldwell February 2018
Captured, radio-collared, and assessed for condition and pregnancy elk on Ft. Riley, KS for U.S. Department of Defense and Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit biologists.
Bender October 2003
Captured and radio-collared ~30 coyotes for management staff of VCNP. This technical assistance supported research to determine movements of coyotes among VCNP, Los Alamos National Lab, and Bandelier National Monunment, as well as potential impacts on elk calves.
Bender February 2006
Captured and radio-collared elk for Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. Captured and radio-collared bull elk for Pueblo biologists with the Santa Clara Pueblo, NM.
Bender November 2004
BLM steering committee for the development of a study to assess the potential impacts of winter gas drilling on mule deer in northwestern New Mexico.
Bureau of Land Management-Farmington, New Mexico
Cain May 2011
Assisted in development of harvest strategies and harvest data collection programs for the Fee Hunting operation on Corona Rangeland and Livestock Research Center, New Mexico State University. Also developed and conduct all population monitoring programs and harvest permit levels for mule deer and pronghorn on CRLRC.
Bender May 2004
Assisted District Biologists of Wyoming Department of Game and Fish in developing demographic survey protocols for elk and interpreting survey data.
Bender March 2007
Analysis of prey items in mountain lion scats, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, San Andres National Wildlife Refuge. This technical assistance involved identification of puma prey items from scats collected by USFWS biologists from San Andres National Wildlife Refuge, during a period when both desert bighorn sheep and desert mule deer both achieved historic low population densities on SANWR.
Bender January 2004
Aided New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Biologists in development of mitigation recommendations for areas burned by extensive wildfires.
Bender August 2002
Advised state biologist on design for population estimation studies of elk.
Bender June 2002
Advised state Environment Department staff on mercury deposition assessment and interpretation.
Caldwell March 2002
Role - Description Provider         Start Date        End Date       
Member, Wildlife Ecologist Faculty Search Committee, Dept. of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University Lawson December 2021 Present
Member, Space and Facilities Committee, Department of Fishery and Wildlife Sciences Caldwell July 2004 June 2015
Interdepartmental Committee to develop PhD program in Applied Ecology - Chair, Development of the interdepartmental PhD program in Arid Lands Science and Management. I am responsible for monthly meetings and leading discussions to develop core curricula, report monthly progress to the Dean, and pushing the committee to establish the needed criteria for the program. Caldwell July 2015 Present
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, member - As a committee member of New Mexico State University IACUC, I review 30-40 applications from NMSU faculty and staff to perform work with vertebrates. Caldwell January 2014 Present
Graduate Program Committee Chair, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University Cain August 2011 Present
FWCE Department Head Search Committee - Representing the Coop Unit on the Department Head search committee for Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology (Host Department for Unit) Caldwell August 2018 March 2019
Departmental Vehicles Committee - Assist Department Head with identifying vehicle needs and processing vehicle requests. Caldwell August 2014 December 2019
Departmental Facility and Space Committee - Convened committee monthly to address space needs within the Department. Completed renovation of Departmental Conference room which included computing and teleconferencing technology. Caldwell August 2012 Present
Departmental Committee to review applicants for the Assistant Professor in Fisheries - Assisted with describing qualifications, writing advertisement, questions for candidates, interviewing candidates and selecting final candidate. Developed a short video of the fisheries research laboratories, offices, and storage spaces. Caldwell June 2020 July 2020
Department Promotion and Tenure Committee - I served on the P&T committee to revise the protocol to address limitations of evaluating promotion for Unit Scientists. The document was accepted by the College. Caldwell July 2014 June 2015
Committee Member, Graduate Research Quantitative Quality Committee, Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University - Provide consultation on quantitative analyses to graduate students and identify departmental quantitative training gaps. Lawson September 2021 Present
Committee - Scholarship and student recruitment committee, Chair Carleton June 2014 Present
Chair, Space and Facilities Commmittee, Department of Fishery and Wildlife Sciences Caldwell July 2006 June 2007
Chair, Space and Facilities Committee, Dept. Fish and Wildlife Sciences, New Mexico State University Caldwell July 2007 June 2008
Chair, Space and Facilities Committee, Department of Fishery and Wildlife Sciences Caldwell July 2005 June 2006
Chair, Quantitative Ecologist Hiring Committee Cain August 2015 May 2016
Chair, Departmental Facilities and Space Committee - Convened committee monthly to address space needs within the Department. Completed renovation of Departmental Conference room which included computing and teleconferencing technology. Caldwell August 2010 August 2011
Ad Hoc Committee for Department Head Search - Worked with faculty in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology to write position description of reaserch and teaching expertise needed for the Department Head position. Distributed to faculty for reivew and comment. Disseminated to College Administration for review. Caldwell May 2012 June 2012
Role and Organization Individual         Start Date        End Date       
White Sands Pupfish Working Group Caldwell January 2011 January 2018
Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Lesser Prairie-Chicken Technical Science Committee Carleton July 2014 Present
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Migratory Shore and Upland Game Bird Support Task Force Carleton January 2012 Present
Symposium Co-Organizer, Moving the needle on avian conservation in the southwestern US: grand challenges and opportunities, Wilson Ornithological Society Annual Conference Lawson March 2022 July 2022
Student Fellowship Selection Committee, USFWS Sea Duck Joint Venture Lawson December 2021 January 2022
Rio Grande cutthroat trout Working Group Caldwell January 2010 Present
Reviewed Promotion Packet - Montana State University Caldwell November 2011 December 2011
Primary Reviewer for Promotion to Full Professor Caldwell August 2019 September 2019
Primary Reviewer RGE Panel Caldwell September 2017 November 2017
Playa Lakes Joint Venter Working Group Carleton March 2012 Present
Peer Review Panel, Chair, White Sands Pupfish Listing Investigation via Wildlife Conservation Act Caldwell February 2018 August 2018
Panel Member, A Future PI Training Session, The Wildlife Society Annual Conference Lawson November 2022 November 2022
Panel Member, A Future PI Training Session, The Wildlife Society Annual Conference Lawson November 2021 November 2021
Mesilla Valley Fly Fishers Caldwell January 2010 Present
Member, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Projects Advisory Committee Bender March 2002 September 2007
Member, Rio Grande Silvery Minnow Propagation and Genetics Workgroup Caldwell January 2001 December 2016
Member, Research Grade Evaluation Panel, U.S. Geological Survey Caldwell October 2011 November 2011
Member, Research Grade Evaluation Panel, U.S. Geological Survey Caldwell October 2005 October 2005
Member, Pecos Ecosystem Ecoteam Caldwell August 2003 August 2004
Lead Symposium Organizer, Ecology and conservation of Eastern black rail: Road to recovery through management, The Wildlife Society Annual Conference Lawson May 2021 November 2021
Lead Symposium Organizer, Ask the experts: Applications and future directions of using expert elicitation to improve wildlife management decisions, The Wildlife Society Annual Conference, Lawson March 2022 November 2022
Interview Panel Member, Branch of Species Status Assessment Science Support, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lawson April 2021 May 2021
Gila / Rio Grande Trout Unlimited Caldwell October 2010 Present
Faculty Advisor, Student Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Caldwell July 2007 Present
Faculty Advisor New Mexico State University Bass Fishing Club Caldwell August 2011 Present
FSP Reviewer: TX CFWRU (Influence of temperature on swimming performance of wild Blue Sucker) Caldwell September 2019 September 2019
Chair, Biometrics Working Group, The Wildlife Society Lawson November 2021 Present
Board Member: NMSU Institutional Animal Use and Care Committee Caldwell August 2014 Present
Outreach Activity Provider(s)        Date       
Talk on the birds of New Mexico Carleton March 2014
Research was highlighted via public broadcasting network: "Raising Fish in the Desert" Aggie Almanac Program #91 (aired 11/13/2008, 11/15/2008, and 11/16/2008) on KRWG-TV Weekly Magazine Show). Caldwell November 2008
Provided a one hour presentation to the inhabitants of the Good Samaritan (retired and assisted living) of Las Cruces. The presentation was titled: "Fish population diversity in New Mexico: Management, conflict, and compromise". Caldwell September 2004
Presented research findings of the effects of whirling disease on Rio Grande cutthroat trout to the Mesilla Valley Fly Fishers Association. Caldwell May 2005
Presented research describing the effects of whirling disease in Rio Grande cutthroat trout to the New Mexico Wildlife Federation Caldwell May 2005
News release from New Mexico State University highlighting my research on whirling disease in Rio Grande cutthroat trout was picked up by Associated Press and published in two New Mexico newspapers (Las Cruces Sun News and Albuquerque Journal) Caldwell January 2005
Interviewed for NMSU ACES Magazine article highlighting NM CFWRU scientists and research projects. Lawson April 2021
I investigated a fish die-off in a city pond in which thousands of fish were found dead. My results revealed the City had filled the pond with chlorinated city water. My results were published in the Sun News (Las Cruces newspaper). 'Lethal' chlorine levels in Young Pond prompt new questions about recent <i>fish</i> deaths. Michael McDevitt. <i>Las Cruces Sun</i>-<i>News</i>. Caldwell June 2021
Eye on Research at NMSU and newspapers around New Mexico on lesser prairie-chicken research Carleton November 2014
Cameo appearence in a film that describes the Valles Caldera National Preserve. I describe the effects of a wildfire on the aquatic system within the preserve. Caldwell September 2012
CUTLINE: Colleen Caldwell, an adjunct associate professor in NMSU's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology and the New Mexico unit leader for the U.S. Geological Survey's Biological Resources Division, uses a conductivity meter to check water salinity levels in a shrimp cultivation tank. She directs a research project that will assess shrimp cultivation in a closed-water system using a glandless cottonseed meal feed. (NMSU photo by Jay A. Rodman) Caldwell August 2011
ACES Magazine: College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (Vol 5, Spring 2021) published an article describing the New Mexico Coop Unit and its work in New Mexico. My work was highlighted and used as the cover of the magazine. Caldwell, Cain February 2021