An apparent absence of the species over a 160-km stretch of the lower Pecos was attributed to river pollution by natural gas and oilfield runoff (Ward 1984). Water diversion, runoff interception, groundwater pumping and other intensive water usage in the basin mean that the Rio Grande frequently runs dry before reaching the sea, while floodplain lake habitat has been lost after the construction of flood mitigation dams and infrastructure. These processes fragment populations and impede repopulation of depleted populations and gene flow.
The species is also considered to be under potentially serious threat from collection for the pet trade and wanton killing by fishermen (Forstner pers. comm. 2005, Bailey et al. 2008). Bailey et al. (2008) also reported an apparent absence of juveniles in the Texas populations of P. gorzugi, whereas their searches for juveniles in New Mexico were successful; they expressed their concerns for future population dynamics of Texas populations.