Game commission will consider aquatic invasive species rule changes

SANTA FE — The State Game Commission will consider rule changes under the Aquatic Invasive Species Control Act that will allow state agencies and contractors to take appropriate actions to prevent the introduction and possible spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in state waters. AIS will be among several items on the agenda for the commission meeting Thursday, July 2, at Heron Lake State Park.

The meeting will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the park visitor center, approximately 13 miles south of Chama on N.M. 95, three miles off U.S. 84. The full agenda, detailed agenda-item briefings and other information are available on the Department of Game and Fish Web site, www.wildlife.state.nm.us or by calling (505) 476-8008.

The AIS Control Act, passed as an emergency measure by the 2009 Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Bill Richardson, is intended to keep invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels out of state waters. The AIS rule change is needed to clearly state that agencies and contractors may transport contaminated vessels and invasive species for cleaning and disposal. Current rules prohibit any transport of AIS in the state.

Other agenda items include:

A proposal to move the application deadline for deer licenses from April to February to give hunters who are successful in the draw the opportunity to buy discounted licenses including junior, senior and combination licenses, which are available after March 31 annually.

A proposal to simplify the deer licensing process by eliminating the deer hunting permit. Successful applicants would be issued a deer license, similar to the way elk, antelope and other big-game licenses currently are issued.

A proposal to set season dates and adjust some bag limits for the 2009-2010 small game and waterfowl seasons. The proposal includes adding a youth sandhill crane hunt on the Bernardo and Casa Colorada waterfowl areas, increasing the dove seasons from 60 days to 70 days in the north and south zones, increasing the daily and seasonal bag limit to two birds for the Middle Rio Grande Valley dark goose hunt, and requiring a free permit for hunts during the Light Goose Conservation Order.

An update on the Mexican wolf reintroduction program, including project activities, status, opportunities and prospects for the future.

A progress report on efforts to improve the San Juan River special trout fishery and results of the most recent angler survey.

Final approval of Habitat Stamp Program projects for 2010, as recommended by five regional citizen advisory committees.

The State Game Commission is composed of seven members who represent the state’s diverse interests in wildlife-associated recreation and conservation. Members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. Current members are Chairman Jim McClintic, Albuquerque; Vice-chairwoman Sandy Buffett, Santa Fe; M.H. “Dutch” Salmon, Silver City; Alfredo Montoya, Alcalde; Leo Sims, Hobbs; Tom Arvas, Albuquerque; and Kent Salazar, Albuquerque.

If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of a reader, amplifier, qualified sign language interpreter, or any other form of auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in the meeting, please contact Shirley Baker, (505) 476-8030. Public documents, including the agenda and minutes, can be provided in various accessible forms.