Invasive Mussel Detection Project

LOCATION:  Montana, USA & Alberta, Canada

DOG:  Diesel, Hilo, Ismay, Lily, Orbee, Rosebud, Theo, Tia, Tobias & Wicket

PURPOSE:  To identify watercraft carrying zebra and quagga mussels at checkpoints in Alberta and Montana

TARGET SCENTS:  zebra and quagga mussels and their larvae

PARTNER/CLIENT:  Lake County Montana, Montana Flathead Basin Commission, and Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Alberta

When it comes to invasive species, an ounce of prevention can be worth five billion dollars of cure.

That’s how much damage zebra and quagga mussels have caused by invading lakes, taking over ecosystems, and clogging the pipes that deliver water to communities, power plants, and sewage treatment facilities.

These mollusks have not yet invaded the waters of Montana and Alberta, and WD4C would like to help keep it that way.

In a pilot test, our four dogs identified 100% of the watercraft containing mussels, while human inspectors found only 75%. The dogs did it faster, while proving to be great ambassadors for the project, helping facilitate the education and outreach that is an integral part of prevention. Our dogs were also able to detect mussels’ microscopic larvae, which can invade a lake just as effectively as adults of the species.

Because dogs are effective, efficient, and have strong public appeal, we are working with government organizations in Montana and Alberta to make detection dog teams an integral part of their efforts to keep zebra and quagga mussels at bay. The Province of Alberta made it mandatory for all boats to stop at check stations, so that the dogs can be sure to screen every boat.

billions of dollars

potential savings from keeping invasive mussels out of Montana & Alberta 

When it comes to invasive species, an ounce of prevention can be worth five billion dollars of cure.

That’s how much damage zebra and quagga mussels have caused by invading lakes, taking over ecosystems, and clogging the pipes that deliver water to communities, power plants, and sewage treatment facilities.

These mollusks have not yet invaded the waters of Montana and Alberta, and WD4C would like to help keep it that way.

invasive

mussel

detection

project

In a pilot test, our four dogs identified 100% of the watercraft containing mussels, while human inspectors found only 75%. The dogs did it faster, while proving to be great ambassadors for the project, helping facilitate the education and outreach that is an integral part of prevention. Our dogs were also able to detect mussels’ microscopic larvae, which can invade a lake just as effectively as adults of the species.

Because dogs are effective, efficient, and have strong public appeal, we are working with government organizations in Montana and Alberta to make detection dog teams an integral part of their efforts to keep zebra and quagga mussels at bay. The Province of Alberta made it mandatory for all boats to stop at check stations, so that the dogs can be sure to screen every boat.

In a pilot test, our four dogs identified 100% of the watercraft containing mussels, while human inspectors found only 75%. The dogs did it faster, while proving to be great ambassadors for the project, helping facilitate the education and outreach that is an integral part of prevention. Our dogs were also able to detect mussels’ microscopic larvae, which can invade a lake just as effectively as adults of the species.

Because dogs are effective, efficient, and have strong public appeal, we are working with government organizations in Montana and Alberta to make detection dog teams an integral part of their efforts to keep zebra and quagga mussels at bay. The Province of Alberta made it mandatory for all boats to stop at check stations, so that the dogs can be sure to screen every boat.