2008

The 40th Annual meeting of the DESERT FISHES COUNCIL (DFC) will be held 12 TO 16 NOVEMBER 2008 (Wednesday to Sunday) in Cuatrociénegas, Coahuila, México. It’s appropriate that this important anniversary event be held in Cuatrociénegas, where the DFC has now become very active via its significant support of the Cuatrociénegas Research Station. Please come help us celebrate the important conservation advances made for this famous place, and for all desert fishes, in the 40 years since the founding of Desert Fishes Council.

The local committee is chaired by Cristina Vélez and Dean Hendrickson (Cuatrociénegas Research Station and University of Texas at Austin) and by the office of the Cuatrociénegas Protected Area for Fauna and Flora. All meeting events except the banquet will be in the Governors Salon of the Casa de Cultura, just a few blocks from the town’s principal plaza. Onsite registration will begin on Wednesday 12 November, followed by an informal reception (ice breaker). On Thursday (13th) technical sessions will begin. The DFC Business Meeting will be Friday (14th) in the afternoon, followed by the banquet. Field trips are planned for Sunday (16th).

So that everyone may fully participate and presentations can be made in either Spanish or English and still be understood by all, we have arranged for professional, simultaneous, electronically transmitted translations of all sessions.

Help us advertise the meeting. Download, print, post and pass on our flier (English or Spanish) and/or meeting poster.

CUATROCIÉNEGAS GENERAL INFORMATION

Location and weather – The Cuatrociénegas valley lies between about 26o 45′ and 27o 00′ North and 101o 49′ and 102o 18′ West in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. The valley floor (700 m above sea level) is relatively flat but is surrounded on all sides by mountains ranging up to 3000 m elevation. As for what to expect in terms of weather during the meeting, since the weather at this time of year is quite unpredictable, the best advice is to come prepared for most anything. Daily lows in November have ranged from about 20o to 54o F (-7o to 12o C) with highs from 77o to 106o F (25o – 41o C). Most of the area gets < 200 mm (7.9 inches) of annual rainfall, but that comes mostly from May – October, so we hope we don’t see much precipitation during the meeting. Cuatrociénegas is notoriously windy year-round.

The DFC-hosted Cuatrociénegas web pages contain a fair bit of information about the basin and the Cuatrociénegas Research Station maintains a comprehensive bibliography of all scientific literature pertinent to the area, wth much of it available online via links to its collection of pdfs.

Some gorgeous pictures from the National Geographic collection have been conveniently circulating recently via email in the form of a PowerPoint file someone put together. We’ve installed it here for those who might want to download it for a preview of the scenery (you will have to have PowerPoint or the PowerPoint viewer installed on your system).

Banking – Dollars may be accepted at some businesses in town, but you will need to use pesos most everywhere. Do not plan on cashing any kind of foreign check in town, including traveller’s checks. You will likely end up having to travel to Monclova (1 hr in car) to do this. ATMs in Cuatrociénegas will work with most US bank accounts and are the easiest way to buy pesos. Cash dollars are accepted in all hotels in the city. Major credit cards (except American Express) will be accepted only in Plaza, Marielena and Cabañas Villas del Desierto. We will provide more detailed information about banking at the registration desk.

Medical – there are two medical clinics and abundant pharmacies, as well as local doctors and dentists. See the interactive map.

Local contacts – the Cuatrociénegas Research Station pages and the new interactive map (below) have all local contact information that meeting participants may need.

Map and services – we have assembled a comprehensive map of service providers of all kinds – restaurants. hotels, museums, grocery and liquor stores, and most anything else you might need. Download the kmz file ready to view in Google Earth, or view it in your browser using Google Maps (be sure to turn on aerial photos). As local residents continue to help us complete it, this file will probably be regularly updated until shortly before the meeting, so check back occasionally for the latest version.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Many hotels and other accommodations arrangements are available at a wide range of prices (roughly $10 – $50 / person / night). The local committee will make reservations on behalf of participants who submit the hotel reservation request form prior to the stated deadline, or participants may use the information provided in that page to make their own reservations. The interactive map (above) displays hotel locations.

Camping is also possible, both at Poza de la Becerra about 15 quick km S of the meeting facility and at Río Mesquites also south of town (both about 40 pesos / night / person), and at a new area, La Maquina, a couple of km N of the meeting facility. See the interactive map for locations. Camping will not require reservations.

TRANSPORTATION

A good source for general information about traveling in México is the U.S. State Department, and in particular their travel tips for México at http://travel.state.gov/Publications/tips_mexico.html. Obviously, on entry to Mexico everyone has to go through customs (Aduanas). We have copied two English language pamphlets recently put out by Aduanas that might be helpful – “Temporary Importation of Vehicles” and “Passengers arriving by land”. Aduana also has a web site – www.aduanas.gob.mx.

Flying to the meeting: There is a landing strip, but no commercial service to Cuatrociénegas. Contact the local meeting hosts if you are considering landing a private plane there. Commercial flights are available to Monterrey, Nuevo León (3 1/2 hours in car from Cuatrociénegas – buses and rental cars available), Monclova, Coahuila (via connections in Monterrey, about 1 hour from Cuatrociénegas – buses and rental cars available), and San Antonio, Texas (about 6-7 hours – rental cars and buses available).

Bus: Bus service throughout most of Mexico is excellent (even luxurious) and inexpensive, and there are many daily departures for CCuatrociénegas from Monterrey, Monclova or the border towns of Ciudad Acuña and Eagle Pass. In the U.S., buses go to both Del Rio and Eagle Pass, Texas, where one can cross the border on foot or by taxi to connect to frequent departures in Ciudad Acuña or Piedras Negras.

Van pool: As was done in 2005, DFC is organizing car pools from Austin using rented 15-passenger vans. Seats will be sold at the fair roundtrip price (to cover expenses only) of $125 per person. Van schedules will be flexible to accommodate flight schedules arriving in Austin or San Antonio. Additional detailed information can be found on the Van Registration Form. NOTE THAT GETTING A SEAT IN A VAN IS A TWO-STEP PROCESS AND BOTH STEPS MUST BE COMPLETED BY THE DEADLINE – 1) Pay for your seat(s) through the Online Store and 2) provide details for planning purposes using the Van Registration Form.

Rental car or private vehicle importation: Vehicles can be rented in Monterrey, Monclova, San Antonio and Austin, but if you plan to rent in the U.S., be sure to specify from the start of negotiations that you will be going to Mexico so the agency can prepare the necessary documentation. There are few companies in the U.S. that rent vehicles to go to Mexico, but we know at least two possibilities. We encourage participants to organize “car pools” to help everyone interested get to the meeting. For those driving private vehicles, Cuatrociénegas is on Mexican Highway 30, west of Monclova, Coahuila. The closest Texas border towns are Eagle Pass (Piedras Negras, Coahuila) and Del Río (Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila) and we hope that participants find our driving route details to be helpful.

Don’t forget the DFC-L may be handy for finding others to share rooms and cars to reduce expenses.

REGISTRATION

We strongly encourage all participants to pay registration fees via the DFC Online store, which accepts all major credit and debit cards. If you are unable to pay via the online store, please contact the DFC Membership Secretary to make other arrangements to pay registration before you get to the meeting.

Onsite registration will open on the afternoon of November 12 at the DFC-sponsored Cuatrociénegas Research Station (Centro de Investigación Ciéntifica de Cuatrociénegas – CICC). Please plan to arrive directly to the Research Station to register upon arrival to the town. New and improved driving directions and the interactive map are available to help you find your way.

Meeting registration rates increase 50% for those who register after the pre-registration deadline.

Registration types (Early categories disappear from the Online store at midnight (CST) on the pre-registration deadline) Fee (U.S. Dollars)
EARLY meeting registration – DFC Latin American student member. $40.00
EARLY meeting registration – DFC non- member. $190.00
EARLY meeting registration – DFC regular member. $150.00
EARLY meeting registration – DFC student or Latin American regular member. $60.00
LATE meeting registration – DFC Latin American student member. $60.00
LATE meeting registration – DFC non- member. $285.00
LATE meeting registration – DFC regular member. $225.00
LATE meeting registration – DFC student or Latin American regular member. $90.00
Cancellations will be accepted until the date specified in the meeting deadlines page, but a $5.00 USD fee will be charged.

PRESENTATIONS

Abstract Submission and viewing

Whether oral or poster, presentations must fall within the scope of the DFC’s mission. No abstract will be accepted or scheduled unless submitted in compliance with the instructions to authors.

The abstract submission system is now closed.

Submitted abstracts may be viewed here, along with their presentation dates and times once that has been added by the Program Committee.

Click here to submit questions or comments about the abstract submission process or provide additional information about your abstract.

As always, DFC membership and meeting pre-registration paid by the abstract deadline are pre-requisites for abstract acceptance; if you plan to present a paper, when you submit your abstract (or before) be sure to pre-register and pay DFC membership dues for 2008. Please use the DFC Online store for dues payments if possible.

Oral presentations are allotted 15 minutes (including questions and responses). Each presenter is limited to a single oral presentation, but poster presentations are not limited and are encouraged. Program space is limited and order of receipt will determine acceptance and programming of presentations.

Delivery of PowerPoint files

Please deliver you presentation PowerPoint files on CD or USB memory at the registration desk as soon as you arrive and at latest the evening before the day you are scheduled to present.

SPECIAL SYMPOSIA

Mexican Trouts

WWF Chihuahua and Truchas Mexicanas will be organizing a symposium to discuss what is known about the mostly undescribed Mexican trouts, their conservation status and conservation work directed toward them. Much of the work being done elsewhere on other endangered trouts in small and isolated habitats in arid regions would also be relevant. Contact symposium coordinator Jim Brooks before submitting your abstract if you think you might have material to contribute to this symposium.

Desert Aquatic Habitat Restoration: 40 years of Theory and Practice

This sympoisum hopes to take advantage of the vast experience of DFC members, and that of invited speakers, to focus on a topic that is getting more and more attention recently in the very special valley where this meeting will be held. Some restoration has already been done locally, and more is proposed, but many questions remain about many aspects of this work, ranging from hydrology, through complications related to non-native species and reactions of vegetation to habitat alteration, to social and legal issues affecting the ability to implement projects. We hope that experience gained elsewhere will help the local community better understand the need for, and ways to best implement, habitat restoration in Cuatrociénegas in harmony with the local human economy. If you think you could contribute to furthering our understanding of these issues, please provide text of preliminary abstracts by email to the local organizers (Dean Hendrickson and Cristina Vélez) as soon as possible, and definitely before the deadline stated in the meeting deadlines page. Following consultation with the organizers, authors should submit complete abstracts to the meeting abstract submission system by the regular deadline.

AREA REPORTS

These are special oral reports coordinated by ecoregion. Agency offices and other organizations desiring to contribute information to these reports should contact their corresponding Area Coordinator. Area coordinators will also be contacting individuals in their areas to solicit input to their reports. More information or help with this process can be obtained from the Areas Coordinator, who coordinates the work of all of the Area Coordinators.

AWARDS

Awards are presented annually for the best presentations given by students. Students competing for these awards must indicate that in the submission of their abstract.

TRAVEL GRANTS

DFC routinely helps defer expenses incurred to travel to present papers or posters, with preference given to students and citizens of Latin American countries. Special instructions detailed in the travel grants page must be followed to request travel support.

MEETING RESOLUTIONS

Resolutions must be submitted via the same form as for abstracts, and by the same deadline. Additional information and a specific format are required, however, as detailed in the 2004 meeting minutes.

FIELD TRIPS

Organized, guided tours of many of the springs, streams and marshes of Cuatrociénegas will be on Sunday November 16. Details depend to some degree on availability of vehicles brought by meeting participants (primarily the van pool), but there is no doubt that a diversity of trips of varied duration to fit any schedule and interests will be provided. Everyone who wants it will have ample opportunity to see the sights and get wet in warm water – be sure to bring your bathing suit and snorkeling equipment. A wet suit will allow you to explore the area’s aquatic habitat diversity more widely and comfortably. Registration and payment (to recover costs only) for field trips will be at the registration desk in Cuatrociénegas.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING THE MEETING

Watch for announcements to be sent via the DFC email list (DFC-L) and for periodic updates to these web pages. Contact local hosts Cristina Vélez or Dean Hendrickson with questions.

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