State Park Officials Stress Vigilance Due to Low Lake Levels

SANTA FE, NM – The combination of prolonged hot, sunny weather, distribution of water for irrigation, and a lack of rain have resulted in extremely low water levels at several state park lakes. Unfortunately, changing lake levels bring the potential of new hazards that did not previously exist. Drought conditions throughout the state have brought submerged hazards close to or above the water’s surface. At some lakes there are islands that were not there before and changing shore lines and minimized boat ramp conditions for launching and loading boats have made safe boating more challenging. Consequently, the prudent boat operator must remain vigilant to all hazards and varying lake conditions. Currently, Conchas, Santa Rosa, Sumner, and Brantley Lakes are experiencing low water levels. Storrie and Clayton Lakes have been closed to motorized boating due to dropping water levels and safety concerns.
“Our hope is that we get some rain to help restore lake levels,” stated Tommy Mutz State Parks Director, “We want boaters to enjoy their lakes and be safe while having fun.”
As a result, state park officials are evaluating water levels daily, marking hazards, relocating courtesy docks and reminding boaters to boat safe, smart, and to be cautious and aware while out on the water. In addition, it’s advisable for boaters to call or visit with park staff in advance to learn more about the conditions that may exist as they prepare to head out on the lake.
“Water levels are less than we hoped for this season, we want to make sure that we safeguard boaters from potential hazards and unpredictable lake conditions,” said Toby Velasquez Chief of Boating and Law Enforcement.
State Park officials remind boaters to always wear a lifejacket when out on the water and to be aware of weather conditions. State law requires that you wear a lifejacket when on a canoe, kayak, or raft and that all children 12 years old and younger wear a lifejacket while on the deck of a moving vessel. The State Parks Division offers free boating safety classes around the state and on-line throughout the year; for more information, call 888-NMPARKS or visit www.nmparks.com.