• Little Colorado River Spinedace

For thousands of years, Arizona’s native fish adapted to life in habitats ranging from small springs to the raging torrents of the Colorado River. Their ability to adjust to periods of drought and flash floods is truly a marvel of nature and has been a key to their survival.

Unfortunately, native fish have not done as well adapting to the influences of humans on their environment. Habitat loss and alteration, and the introduction of non-native fish species, have caused sharp declines in many native fish populations. Out of the 36 fish species native to Arizona, one species is already extinct; 34 have been identified as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Arizona; and, 22 have been federally listed as endangered or threatened. A special and irreplaceable part of Arizona could easily disappear if more native fish species are lost.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, along with numerous government agencies, conservation organizations, and members of the public, has been working to restore native fish populations and is making progress in conserving many of the most imperiled species.  Native fish conservation aims to preserve Arizona’s link to the past so that we may leave a natural legacy for future generations.

The goal of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s native fish management is to manage and conserve the state’s native fish species through on-the-ground conservation projects; threatened and endangered species recovery; statewide population monitoring; creation and implementation of conservation agreements; provision of research grants; and, public education and outreach.