Alberta to Use Sniff Dogs for Evicting Invasive Mussels

Environment Minister, Robin Campbell, have announced to commence a 10-day pilot program on Wednesday that will focus on using specialized sniffer dogs to aid in finding invasive zebra and quagga mussels that have entered the province from other jurisdictions. Addressing reporters from Dunmore weigh station, i.e. the region’s invasive species voluntary inspection site, Campbell stated that “this is the first pilot of its kind anywhere in Canada.”

Since their entry to North America, Zebra and quagga mussels have generated countless issues to the ecology of water bodies, clogged municipal water intake systems and disrupted irrigation systems. The species native to the Caspian Sea were introduced to the continent through shipping ballasts dumped in the St. Lawrence Seaway. Campbell stated that “they are causing havoc right across North America, especially in Ontario and the Great Lakes system,” adding that “so this pilot program is working with the state of Montana and we have brought dogs in trained in the state of California to basically sniff out invasive species.”

Furthermore, Campbell highlighted that the province is proactively targeting the invasive mussels this year through education and voluntary inspection stations like the one based in Dunmore. However, he confessed that in the future the province might introduce mandatory inspections of water vessels coming into the province. He said that “this fall we will probably introduce regulations making it mandatory that all vehicles and boats coming into Alberta will be inspected and we’ll be able to do a good job in helping them clean those boats up.”

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