Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Alberta hopes specially trained dogs will sniff out invasive zebra mussels

A dog is shown in this undated handout at a watercraft inspection station. The Alberta government has teamed up with Montana to pay for specially trained dogs that can sniff out zebra and quagga mussels attached to boats.

HO/THE CANADIAN PRESS

You have heard of bird dogs, but what about mussel mutts?

The Alberta government has teamed up with Montana to pay for specially trained dogs that can sniff out zebra and quagga mussels attached to boats.

These mussels have caused damage to water treatment infrastructure and aquatic ecosystems in other areas.

Story continues below advertisement

The hope is that the dogs will detect the mussels on boats being hauled on trailers at highway checkpoints and prevent them from spreading into Alberta waters.

The five dogs were trained in the U.S. and will be working for ten-day stretches on each side of the border.

Alberta Environment Minister Robin Campbell says prevention is the key because the mussels are almost impossible to get rid of once they get established.

"Zebra and quagga mussels pose a huge ecological and financial threat to Alberta, so we wanted to take advantage of every opportunity to stop their spread," Campbell said Wednesday.

Quagga and zebra mussels move from lake to lake by attaching themselves to boats and other recreational equipment.

Quagga mussels are found in various parts of North America, such as in the Colorado River system in the U.S., a popular destination for Alberta boaters.

Zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Winnipeg in October 2013.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨