Mussels beware! We're sicking the dogs on you Aquatic Invasive Species now!

Yellowstone National Park along with Teton National Park has ratcheted up the efforts to detect zebra and quagga mussels on watercraft owners spending time on the water in Montana. Working Dogs for Conservation, a non-profit organization in Bozeman, is supplying trained dogs to detect these potentially destructive invaders.

When vehicles stop at watercraft inspection stations, handlers allow their dogs to smell for mussels around any and all watercraft and motors. If any of these critters are detected, boat owners are required to sanitize their equipment. You are also typically asked what body of water your watercraft was on, whether or not anything is detected.

To date in 2019, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and agency partners have conducted more than 52,000 watercraft inspections. So far 13 vessels with zebra or quagga mussels have been intercepted. It doesn't sound like much of a success rate, but once these nasty critters have established themselves, they are nearly impossible to eradicate. They stick to everything and quickly disrupt aquatic ecosystems.

Here's wishing the dogs super-sensitive noses and much success.

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