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Standing between Life and ExtinctionEthics and Ecology of Conserving Aquatic Species in North American Deserts$
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David Propst, Jack Williams, Kevin Bestgen, and Christopher Hoagstrom

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226694337

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226694504.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

The Battle to Conserve Aquatic Species in Lands of Water Scarcity Continues

The Battle to Conserve Aquatic Species in Lands of Water Scarcity Continues

(p.3) 1 The Battle to Conserve Aquatic Species in Lands of Water Scarcity Continues
Standing between Life and Extinction

Jack E. Williams

David L. Propst

University of Chicago Press

Water was a critical fuel for post-World War II economic and population growth in the North American west and its appropriation for human use brought new challenges to aquatic organisms that had evolved in harsh environments but were little prepared for extensive alteration of fragile arid-land aquatic systems. There was little regard for native fish species if they had no immediate and tangible worth to humans. But an increasing awareness by resource managers and academics of the plight of this vanishing fauna spawned the Desert Fishes Council in 1969. With passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, additional impetus for conservation of native aquatic organisms was provided. Published in 1991, The Battle Against Extinction summarized progress and issues in arid-land native fish conservation through about 1990. Since then, new technologies, evolving strategies, and a changing climate provide new opportunities and exacerbate lingering issues, including uncertain political support for conservation. How persistent conservation problems are addressed and resolved will determine the fate of numerous arid-land aquatic organisms.

Keywords:   native fish species, arid-land aquatic systems, conservation, Battle Against Extinction, climate change, Desert Fishes Council, Endangered Species Act

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