Wildlife and Fisheries
The Gila National Forest has a long history of working with partners to accomplish important wildlife and fisheries work on the Forest. Partners over the years have include sister federal agencies, the state of New Mexico, sportsman groups, conservation organizations, universities, and private individuals.
Sportsman that contribute to the New Mexico Habitat Stamp program, Mule Deer Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wild Turkey Federation, Quail Unlimited, New Mexico Trout, Trout Unlimited, and Gila Rod and Gun Club have all played a significant role in the wildlife and fish habitat improvement work that has occurred on the Gila. These sportsmen have helped finance vegetation treatment projects that improve foraging conditions for wildlife, provided dollars and labor for the construction of wildlife waters, to improve game and non-game species habitat, and stream improvement structures to improve trout habitat and fishing opportunities.
The Forest works annually with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to implement recovery actions for federally listed species under the Endangered Species Act. We are jointly working to recover species like the Gila trout, Mexican Gray Wolf, Mexican Spotted Owl, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Chiricahua leopard frog, spikedace and loach minnow. Western New Mexico University is one of our valued partners that work with the Gila to monitor the population levels of many of these federally listed species. The information provided by the biology professors and students from Western and other Universities assist in the recovery efforts for these species.
Over the past several years the Forest has developed strong partnerships that help us manage a complex and challenging Recreation program. Partners such as the Continental Divide Trail Alliance and the Southwest Conservation Corps have helped with the construction of many miles of new trail. Other groups, such as the Grant County Wellness Coalition and the Forest Guild, have contributed time and labor in the form of Youth Conservation Corps crews. In addition to bolstering our work-force, these partnerships foster increased communication and understanding between the public and the Forest Service.