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Muscling Down On Mussels

Gene Wilburn
Creative Commons via Flickr


New Mexico Game and Fish officials are trying to stop two species of non-native mussels from spreading into local waters by revising the Aquatic Species Rules. The department has opened public comment for the proposed rule changes.

Both Zebra and Quagga mussels are bottom feeders that have become notorious in 29 states.

James Dominguez of the state Game and Fish Department said they can wreak havoc on water infrastructure like dams and irrigation pipes.

"They're a problem for boats and beaches," Dominguez explained, "a whole lot of problems once they get here." 

New Mexico is surrounded by states with infestations, but we haven’t been invaded by the pesky mollusks, yet.

Credit JN Stuart via Flicker

The proposed rule changes are meant to prevent them from entering state waters after latching on to boats and traveling across state lines. Out of state boaters would have to pass an inspection before setting sail. And all boaters, including locals, would have to get a certificate of decontamination. Boats that don’t pass inspection could be temporarily detained.

Public comment is open until December 31st.  Send your comments to James Dominguez of the Game and Fish Department at james.dominguez@state.nm.us. 

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