Sumner Lake closed to boating

Freedom New Mexico

The New Mexico State Parks Division and the Department of Game and Fish have closed Sumner Lake to boating until further notice due to tests indicating the potential presence of Quagga mussel veligers, or larva.

Sumner Lake State Park will remain open for camping and other recreational activities. Nearby Santa Rosa, Conchas and Ute lakes will remain open.

“This temporary closure to boating will allow us to thoroughly evaluate the organisms that have been found, and also protect our natural resources,” said Tod Stevenson, director of the Department of Game and Fish. “We can’t allow boats to leave the lake and risk spreading these (mussels) to other state lakes.”

Quagga mussels are small invertebrates that rapidly reproduce and can cause problems for any organization that distributes or uses water. The mussels, which can live for weeks at a time out of water, quickly clog pipes, pumps, and water-cooling intake valves on engines.

“We are at critical point with invasive species and we have to take this drastic action of closing Sumner Lake, because these destructive mussels can destroy drinking water infrastructure downstream,” said State Parks Director Tommy Mutz. “We can’t emphasize enough the serious irreversible environmental damage invasive species can do to our natural habitats.”