Native Black Bass Initiative: Implementing Watershed-Scale Conservation of Native Fish Populations in Southern US Rivers and Streams

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 4:00 PM
Marriott Ballroom C (The Marriott Little Rock)
Timothy Birdsong , Inland Fisheries Division, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Austin, TX
Jean Leitner , South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Eastover, SC
Scott Robinson , Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, Social Circle, GA
Steven M. Sammons , Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Joe Slaughter , Georgia Power
James M. Long , Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Geological Survey, Stillwater, OK
Rivers and streams of the southern US harbor a diversity of aquatic species and habitats unparalleled in North America.  More than 1,800 species of fishes, mussels, snails, turtles and crayfish can be found in the more than 70 major river basins of the region; more than 500 of these species are endemic. Of the nine described species of black bass, six are endemic to southern US rivers and streams:  Guadalupe bass, shoal bass, redeye bass, Florida bass, Alabama bass, and Suwannee bass.  However, many undescribed forms also exist and most of these are in need of conservation measures to prevent them from becoming imperiled.  The Native Black Bass Initiative provides a framework for watershed-scale conservation of native fishes in the southern US.  Additionally, the Native Black Bass Initiative Business Plan identifies regional conservation objectives, strategies and targets to restore and preserve key processes that support healthy functioning habitats and sustainable populations of endemic black basses in rivers and streams of the region.  This presentation will highlight specific conservation strategies being implemented through the initiative, discuss progress towards identified conservation targets for focal species and watersheds, and highlight opportunities to expand the initiative.