The 37th Annual meeting of the DESERT FISHES COUNCIL (DFC) will be held 16 TO 20 NOVEMBER 2005 (Wednesday to Sunday) in Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, México, exactly one quarter of a century after the DFC meeting in Monterrey that included a famous field trip to this incredible valley. Almost every DFC member of adequate age should remember that incredible party, though it seems many completely forgot it that very night! Please come help us celebrate the important conservation advances made for this famous place, and for all desert fishes, in the 25 years since our first group visit. More information about Cuatro Ciénegas can be found in the DFC-sponsored Cuatro Ciénegas web pages.

The local committee is chaired by Dean Hendrickson (University of Texas at Austin) and by the office of the Cuatro Ciénegas Protected Area for Fauna and Flora. Onsite registration will begin on Wednesday 16 November in the Casa de Cultura. That same night an informal reception (ice breaker) is planned. On Thursday (17th) technical sessions will begin with Area Reports and posters. The DFC Business Meeting will be Friday (18th) in the afternoon, followed by the banquet. The special DFC / WRP symposium will be on Saturday, along with continuing general technical presentations. Field trips are planned for Sunday (20th). All events except the banquet will be in the newly remodeled Governor’s Salon of the Casa de Cultura, just a few blocks from the town’s principal plaza.

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. Distribute the URL of this meeting page and click on the meeting poster image at the top of this page to download a high-resolution jpg of the poster for printing and posting. The symposium poster is also available.


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. The Reserve’s management plan has a temperature data table indicating that recorded daily lows in November range 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, and 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, including the classic and thorough description provided in Minckley’s 1969 “Environments of the Bolsón of Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, México”.

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. I’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 – There’s a DFC-L message in that list’s archive about currency exchange issues and perhaps some followups to it. 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 to do this. 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.

Local contacts – see the note about this in the DFC-L archive.


Many hotels and other accommodations arrangements are available at a wide range of prices (roughly $8 – $30 / person / night). The local committee will make reservations on behalf of participants for anyone who so requests by submitting the hotel reservation request form, or participants may use the information provided via that page to make their own reservations.

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.

Camping is also possible, both at Poza de la Becerra about 15 quick km S of the meeting facility (about 40 pesos / night / person) and at a new area a couple of km N of the meeting facility. Camping will not require reservations.


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 Cuatro Ciénegas. Commercial flights are available to Monterrey, Nuevo León (3 1/2 hours in car from Cuatro Ciénegas – buses and rental cars available), Monclova, Coahuila (via connections in Monterrey, about 1 hour from Cuatro Ciénegas – 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 Cuatro Ciénegas 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, from where one can cross the border on foot or by taxi to connect to frequent departures in Ciudad  Acuña or Piedras Negras.

Van pool: DFC is organizing car pools from Austin using rented 15-passenger vans. To do this, we need volunteer drivers capable of renting vehicles (but DFC will pay the bill). Seats will sold at the fair roundtrip price (to cover expenses only) of $110. We may be able to significantly subsidize van fares for the primary drivers. If you are interested in driving, please email the van pool coordinator, Nathan Allan, (Nathan_Allan@fws.gov) ), as soon as possible. Van driver positions can only be arranged until September 16 and van seats will be sold only until Sept. 30 – buy your seats via the DFC Online store prior to those deadlines. As this plan matures, we will be making announcements via DFC-L (so subscribe now if you’re not already subscribed) and updating this section of this webpage. Also check the DFC-L archive.

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, Cuatro Ciénegas 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 Bulletin Board may be handy for finding others to share rooms and cars to reduce expenses.


The new DFC Online store accepts credit cards, Purchase Orders and mailed checks for registration, dues, and purchase of DFC products. Check it out!

Meeting registration rates increase substantially for those who register after the September 16 pre-registration deadline, and only those who pre-register will receive our special DFC Cuatro Ciénegas meeting souvenirs – a glass and coffee cup, both emblazoned with the meeting logo (above) and the Cuatro Ciénegas town shield. So, pre-register or bring your own plain, old dumpy glass and cup, because this is a ‘green’ meeting that will use nothing disposable. If you want to drink anything during the sessions, you will need something to contain your liquid, and we will not provide it unless you pre-register.

Registration types (Early categories disappear from the Online store at midnight (CST) on Sept 16)           Fee (U.S. Dollars)

EARLY meeting registration – DFC Latin American student member.          $40.00

EARLY meeting registration – DFC non- member.               $160.00

EARLY meeting registration – DFC regular member.          $120.00

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.  $240.00

LATE meeting registration – DFC regular member.             $180.00

LATE meeting registration – DFC student or Latin American regular member.        $90.00

Cancellations will be accepted until 31 October, but a $5.00 USD fee will be charged.


Abstract Submission

After reading the remainder of this section, you may use the online web form to submit your abstract.

Whether oral or poster, presentations must fall within the scope of the DFC’s mission (and symposium papers should also consider WRP’s statutory goals and scope). No abstract will be accepted or scheduled unless submitted in compliance with the instuctions to authors.

The deadline for abstract submission is September 16 at midnight Central Standard Time. 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 2005. Both registration and dues can be paid through the DFC Online store.

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.

Viewing submitted abstracts

The meeting abstract database may be consulted at any time. Abstracts will be displayed there as soon as they are submitted.

FTP delivery of PowerPoint files

ALL Powerpoint presentations MUST BE delivered by FTP by midnight CST on November 4. Detailed FTP instructions are provided.


See the DFC-L note with this information.


A special symposium on invasive species is being planned in cooperation with the Western Regional Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species (http://answest.fws.gov/). The symposium is to address common aquatic invasive species concerns between Mexico and the US and opportunities for cooperation and collaboration. Detailed information will be available soon. Until then, those interested can contact the organizer and Western Regional Panel Program Chair (john.chapman@OregonState.edu) or DFC Program Chair, Stewart Reid (westernfishes@opendoor.com). Additional travel grants are available from WRP this year to support travel to participate in the symposium.

Download a symposium poster to print and display.


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


DFC routinely helps defer expenses incurred to travel to present papers or posters, with preference given to students and citizens of Latin American countries. This year, thanks to WRP’s generosity and symposium sponsorship, additional funds are available. Special instructions detailed in the travel grants page must be followed to request travel support.


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.


Guided tours of many of the springs, streams and marshes of Cuatro Ciénegas will be organized. Details depend to some degree on availability of vehicles brought by meeting participants, but all interested will definitely be provided ample opportunity to see the sights and get wet in warm water – be sure to bring your bathing suit and snorkeling equipment.



Watch for announcements to be sent via the DFC email list (DFC-L) and for periodic updates to these web pages.

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