El Ocote Reserve

Chiapas (Mexico) and California share many similar challenges regarding the conservation of rivers and streams and the organisms that dwell in them. 

Although fishes in both states are highly diverse, this biodiversity is under multiple threats including effects from cattle grazing, forest fires, dam operations, and climate change.

Collaboration between the El Ocote Biosphere Reserve and the Klamath National Forest began in 1993 in order to provide research expertise and training between the two forests.  Past efforts have documented fish species presence and distribution within the Reserve (2005-2008; Gonzalez-Diaz et al. 2008, Anzueto-Calvo et al. 2013), as well as identified threats to aquatic habitats (2010-2012). 

The University of California, Davis, joined this collaboration in 2013 by providing guidance on extensive water quality sampling and support in continued fish monitoring.  Important water quality parameters (e.g., concentrations of fecal coliform bacteria) were monitored for the first time in 2013. 

Preliminary results suggest that the bacterial content in some surface waters is several 100 times greater than that recommended by Mexican health standards. 

Fishes from several new sites within the reserve were also collected through electrofishing, seining, and gill netting in 2013. 

This information will be used to update management actions within and around the Reserve.  Proposed future efforts include outlining conservation strategies for the Rio La Venta canyon as well as establishing collaborations with other reserves. 

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