New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Dan Williams, (505) 476-8004
Public contact: (505) 476-8000
dan.williams@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MARCH 4, 2008:

DEPARTMENT RECRUITING PARTNERS TO HELP FIGHT AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES

SANTA FE -- The Department of Game and Fish is looking for partners to help defend New Mexico from an invasion of alien organisms that threaten our fish, wildlife and aquatic ecosystems.

More than 100 aquatic invasive species already are seriously impacting New Mexico's natural resources, and the threats continue to grow despite regulations prohibiting their introduction to the state. Eurasian watermilfoil and Brazilian waterweed are present in the state and can reduce waterfowl populations, cause fish die-offs, impede water flow and clog intakes and pumps. Toxins produced by golden alga have killed thousands of fish in the Pecos River. Potential threats include zebra and quagga mussels, which can wipe out native species, clog pipes and force costly cleanup and repairs to municipal/agricultural water supply systems and water craft.

To battle these invasive species, the Department is forming an advisory committee to help in the development and approval process of an Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan. Once established, the plan will make New Mexico eligible for substantial matching federal assistance funding. Currently, New Mexico is not eligible for the funding because it has no plan.

Individuals, groups, organizations, tribes and agencies are encouraged to participate in the process by joining the advisory committee. The committee's initial tasks will be to manage and review a preliminary draft management plan developed by the Department. A final draft will be presented to Governor Bill Richardson and the federal Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force for approval.

Those interested in participating on the committee are encouraged to contact Brian Lang at (505) 476-8108 or brian.lang@state.nm.us.

 

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