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Sumner Lake still closed
FORT SUMNER — State Park officials are scheduled to make a determination on the re-opening of Sumner Lake to boating following the Carlsbad Irrigation District board meeting June 14.
New Mexico State Parks closed Sumner Lake to all watercraft May 27 after laboratory test results found indications of invasive aquatic species, notably Quagga mussel veligers. Boating was suspended on the lake so the threat of the species’ spreading to other reservoirs would be limited.
At the Carlsbad Irrigation District board meeting, officials will determine how much water will be requested from Sumner and Santa Rosa reservoirs and the timing of that water release. Following that, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will plan for releases related to interstate water delivery obligations, among other factors.
Depending on the size of the release, it’s possible that the water level will drop below the elevation of Sumner Lakes boating ramps, which would prevent boats from launching.
State officials add that the area around Sumner Lake is still fine for recreational use.
“Sumner Lake Park…offers many recreational activities, such as camping, hiking, swimming, wildlife viewing and bank fishing,” said Tommy Mutz, director of State Parks. “We want to do everything we can to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, but we want to remind the public that the park is open.”
State Game and Fish director Tod Stevenson said one more positive test at Sumner Lake for invasive species would force the department to declare the waters infested.
Currently, three of the Four Corners states have at least one infested lake or reservoir.
“This is a very serious situation with huge implications for the way everyone has been doing business at Sumner Lake,” Stevenson said. “There’s no stepping back once we declare it infested, so I want to have irrefutable proof the lake is infested before we move ahead with this designation.”
Quagga mussels are classified as an aquatic invasive species. The mussels are indigenous to the Dneiper River drainage of the Ukraine and are believed to have come to the U.S. in the bilge tanks of ships.
Anglers are asked to drain and dry all bait buckets and other equipment that might be carried from Sumner Lake to other locations.
Drawing results available online
SANTA FE — Hunters who applied for New Mexico 2011-2012 deer, elk, antelope, ibex, javelina, bighorn sheep and Barbary sheep licenses can now see if they were drawn.
Results of the drawing was released online Wednesday. To see the results, visit the state’s Department of Game and Fish website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us.
Hunters who were successful in the drawings will be mailed licenses and carcass tags according to species.
Unsuccessful applicants will receive refunds for prepaid license fees — by check if the application was on paper, or by credits to credit cards if payment was online.
Game and Fish received 141,462 applications for about 65,500 licenses, an increase of 8,701 applications – 8,179 residents and 522 nonresidents — from the previous year.
This was the second year the department began requiring all applicants to pay the full license fees at the time of application.