Reflection at Rio Nutria Preserve in New Mexico.
Rio Nutria Preserve Reflections in the water. © Allen Maestas

Places We Protect

Rio Nutria Preserve

New Mexico

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Providing some of the last, best habitat for the Zuni bluehead sucker.


The Rio Nutria Preserve encompasses approximately 1,712 acres of scenic sandstone canyons in the Zuni Mountains of west-central New Mexico. It protects just over four stream-miles of the upper Rio Nutria headwaters and almost a mile of the tributary Tampico Draw, including its confluence with the Rio Nutria.

The preserve provides essential habitat for the Zuni bluehead sucker, an endemic fish of the upper Little Colorado River. While pockets of Zuni bluehead sucker habitat and populations are found throughout the Rio Nutria watershed, the best quality and most extensive remaining habitat for the sucker are found in the preserve.

Rio Nutria Preserve is adjacent to tribal lands of the Zuni Tribe. The Conservancy works cooperatively with the tribe in restoring and conserving the Zuni River watershed.

Stream flows in the Rio Nutria are highly variable seasonally and year-to-year. Typically, flows are driven by spring snowmelt and late summer precipitation.

Mammals of the area range from elk and mule deer to a diversity of rodents and carnivores. Beaver are common in the stream. Skunks, black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, red and grey fox are also found in the area.

Support Our Work at the Rio Nutria Preserve

Help us protect essential habitat for the Zuni bluehead sucker.