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Viewing window at Balmorhea State Park

What's so special about cienagas?

Fish! There are fish and special aquatic animals in the desert!

Ciénegas, or desert marshes, provide habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. This is especially true for the rare desert fishes.

Few ciénegas have survived due to water used by others and not left for habitat. San Solomon Springs continue to flow, but its ciénega was long ago destroyed, along with its great diversity of wildlife. Many people got together to rebuild the cienega at Balmorhea State Park!

As a result, the native fish, including the endangered Comanche Springs pupfish, have a new home. This location now provides a natural habitat and contains the largest number of Comanche Springs pupfish anywhere! (The summer population averages 270,000!). Children and adults who visit the cienega exhibit can learn about this amazing water habitat in the desert!

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Visit Balmorhea State Park

Comanche Springs Pupfish

In cooperation with local residents, farmers and the Reeves County Water Improvement District, Texas Parks and Wildlife completed construction of the 1-hectare San Solomon Ciénega in 1996. Additional contributors to the project included: Educational Foundation of America, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service, Texas Agricultural Extension Service, United States Fish & Wildlife Service, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Sul Ross State University and Texas Organization for Endangered Species.

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