Fisheries Management Plans
The Arizona Game and Fish Department strives to be a national conservation leader and Arizona’s most trusted source for wildlife conservation information and products.
AZGFD furthered this vision in 2013 by embarking on a novel planning process that culminated in a multi-species fisheries management plan for the Verde River Watershed. This planning approach shifted away from a single species focus to interactions between sport fish and native aquatic species, reflecting AZGFD's mission to conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources while managing for safe, compatible outdoor recreation opportunities. AZGFD will be developing similar plans for all of Arizona's major watersheds to guide fisheries management into the future.
For each major watershed in Arizona, AZGFD will develop interactive web maps as an alternative, visual way to easily explore management information outlined in the plan.
Fisheries Management Plans
Verde River Watershed – In progress. Anticipated Summer 2016
Santa Cruz Watershed – In Progress
Upper Gila Watershed – Beginning Fall 2016
The AZGFD has management authority for all wildlife in Arizona, but shares management responsibility for habitat with many partners, including state, federal, tribal and local agencies. For each fisheries watershed-based management plan, the AZGFD invites other agencies to participate on the planning team, depending on the watershed and jurisdiction to manage lands and habitat.
The Watershed-based Fish Management Process incorporates data collection and analysis, consideration of management emphasis, analysis of potential conflicts and mitigation, and stakeholder and public input. Ultimately the plan will guide management prescriptions while allowing for adaptive management as new information becomes available. The Statewide Fish Management Team report (AGFD 2009) details this decision-making process.
Species considered during the planning process include Sport Fish, Native Fish, Amphibians and reptiles associated with riparian habitats (Northern Mexican Gartersnake, Narrow-headed Gartersnake and others).
The multispecies planning approach incorporates many elements from AZGFD's Wildlife 20/20 Strategic Plan including:
- Balancing public demand for sport fish recreation with conservation of native aquatic resources;
- Managing rare species to maintain biological diversity and reduce federal regulatory burden;
- Maintaining and restore native species diversity, population numbers, and habitats; and
- Ensuring seamless integration of sport and native fish programs.
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