First discovered in the Great Lakes in the 1980s, zebra mussels and quagga mussels have spread to waters in more than 25 states by hitching a ride on vessels and trailers. Millions of dollars are spent annually to control and monitor these invasive species, which clog water pipes, foul boat motors, and kill native plants and wildlife by removing their food supplies. Although zebra mussels and quagga mussels have not been found in New Mexico, the mussels are in all bordering states except Texas. Once they contaminate open waters, they are impossible to remove.
The New Mexico Aquatic Invasive Species Control Act gives officers with the Department of Game and Fish and the New Mexico State Parks Division the authority to inspect vessels, trailers, or other equipment suspected of being contaminated with invasive species. The Act also requires that all vessels and equipment used in waters infested with invasive species be certified as decontaminated before entering New Mexico waters.