Simone Pond is currently undergoing restoration towards the reintroduction of the desert pupfish, Cyprinodon macularius.
The desert pupfish was listed as federally endangered in 1986 due to habitat loss and modification, pollution, and predation from non-native species. Establishing refugia habitats, such as Simone Pond, is part of the Federal Recovery Plan to support and recover the population.
The introduction of several non-native species—such as red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and tilapia (Oreochromis aureus)—ultimately led to the demise of desert pupfish in Simone Pond. In 2009, the last two pupfish found during surveys were relocated.
Both crayfish and tilapia have rapid reproductive cycles and can produce numerous offspring, which makes them difficult to remove. Furthermore, crayfish can burrow, walk on land, and persist outside of water. Consequently, previous removal projects have proven unsuccessful.
CNLM estimated that by January 2019, there were over 23,000 crayfish and 4,000 tilapia in Simone Pond!
In January 2019, a new restoration plan was launched. This plan first focused on hiring an aquatic biologist to spearhead the effort. He then outlined a unique and integrative approach to removing the invasive species. Techniques included trapping and removing the invasive species, draining the pond, electrofishing, and the application of naturally-derived pesticides.
For More Information:
Schedule a tour of Simone Pond with the preserve’s own aquatic biologist here.
Check out a live feed from Simone Pond’s new environmental monitoring station below: