For more information on the New Mexico Nature Conservancy's work in the Gila Riparian Preserve and the Mimbres River Preserves:
The Gila Riparian Preserve protects more than 1,200 acres of the southwest's fragile riparian habitat and the verdant gallery woodland among the Gila River, the last of the southwest's major free-flowing rivers.
In 2009, the Conservancy added four acres of important riverside habitat to the Gila Riparian Preserve. The new stretch inserts an important piece to this project area, which includes the preserve and more than 250,000 acres collaboratively managed by the Conservancy, local landowners, federal and state agencies and local organizations.
The Conservancy's long-term vision for the preserve is simple: Let the river rediscover its natural floodplain and enable new cottonwoods and willows to spring up, providing habitat for neotropical migratory songbirds, especially southwest willow flycatcher—a species whose population is in trouble.
The Gila River supports one of the highest concentrations of breeding birds in North America and an astonishing array of plant and animal life. In the river are found several fish, including the loach minnow and spikedace, which are federally listed as threatened. A host of other rare animal species also use the preserve's habitats.