Red Rock Cienega
In 2008, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, partnering with Arizona Game and Fish Department and USFWS, received a DFHP grant to restore the cienega at Red Rock Wildlife Area. Following completion of the construction, securing of perennial water, and establishment of native vegetation and invertebrates, the agencies stocked Gila topminnow and Gila chub in 2010. The cienega provides habitat for native waterfowl, neotropical birds, and amphibians, as well as fish.
Red Rock Cienega is a historic wetland at Red Rock State Wildlife Park. The restoration project began by removing nonnative vegetation, deepening the pond, and installing a pump to provide perennial water for wildlife and fish in the area. When the wetland vegetation and invertebrates were successfully restored, the Department began working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department to establish populations of Gila chub and Gila topminnow in the cienega, thereby doubling the populations of these imperiled species in the state.
Cienegas are wetland habitats unique to the desert west and are rapidly disappearing due to changes in the water table and invasive vegetation. This loss has led to sever imperilment of cienega species, including the Gila topminnow (Poeciliopsis occidentalis) and Gila chub (Gila intermedia). To provide habitat for these fish, the Desert Fish Habitat Partnership, working through the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, helped restore the cienega in the Red Rock Wildlife Management Area near the Gila River. The project began in late 2008 by utilizing a variety of state and federal funding, including $60,000 USFWS National Fish Habitat Partnership Demonstration Project funds.