NEW RULES for Aquatic Invasive Species Control – New Mexico

While I often volunteer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife(CPW), I used to work for them at Navajo Lake, which extends into New Mexico. The majority of this lake is in New Mexico. I educated boaters about aquatic nuisance species, also known as ANS or AIS (aquatic invasive species). At the time, our southern neighbors didn’t have a program to protect our uninfected waters.

While boaters were receptive to the education process, at our particular lake, they asked, “What are they doing about those launching on the other end? Are they being inspected?”

They were not performing education or inspection at the time, so I encouraged boaters to learn and educate their friends. Knowledge is power, and this way we could all keep the waters free of invasive species.

Gradually, New Mexico Department of Fish and Game has come on board in education, inspection, and enforcement of rules for boaters. This is great news, as they mention, Colorado and New Mexico are only two of six states that remain free of zebra and quagga mussel infestations. Learn more by reading their release below.

New rules to battle aquatic invasive species now in effect


SANTA FE – New rules to combat the spread of aquatic invasive species in New Mexico went into effect July 11.

Changes include:

  • Watercraft owners are required to stop at an inspection station whenever one is set up and in operation.
  • Mandatory inspection and, if necessary, decontamination is required of all out-of-state registered watercraft or watercraft re-entering the state of New Mexico.
  • All boaters are required to “pull the plug” and completely drain watercraft when transporting on a New Mexico roadway.

“The boating public’s cooperation is essential in our fight to prevent destructive invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels from infecting our waterways,” said James Dominguez, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. “These changes will help our watercraft inspectors and law enforcement personnel as they conduct watercraft inspections at our water bodies.”

New Mexico is one of only six western states that remain free of zebra or quagga mussel infestation but is surrounded by states where the invasive species have been found. The mussels can attach to boats and grow quickly, leading to encrusted equipment and clogged water pipes. Their spread also poses a risk to our native aquatic wildlife, hydroelectric power systems and surface water delivery lines used for municipalities and agriculture.

Inspectors are stationed at various lakes and reservoirs throughout the state to ensure that watercraft is completely clean, drained and dry before launching. Boaters can help by adopting these measures on their own.

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