In an attempt to stop the Montana invasive mussels, the local wildlife authorities have called in specially-trained sniffing dogs. The K9 units will help the authorities identify adult mussels attached to boats, launches, or piers.
According to the local authorities, this seems to be the first time invasive mussels have been spotted in the waters around Montana. While the issue is currently under control, the authorities cautioned that the problem would have to be sorted out as soon as possible, before the situation gets out of hand.
The pesky invaders are called zebra mussels. They get their name from their black and white stripes present on their shells. A zebra mussel usually lives for approximately four to five years, and they can reach a length of 50mm. So far, none of these facts seem to indicate that these critters are dangerous.
However, zebra mussels have the habit of attaching themselves to any hard surface they find. For example, zebra mussels colonies have been found in water treatment plants and other power-producing facilities. These colonies reduced the plant’s pumping capabilities, and some representative reported that the machines shut down from time to time.
Zebra mussels also attach themselves to unprotected moored boats, preferring places such as the boat’s hull and engine outlets, causing them to overheat.
The authorities from Montana are currently carrying out investigations in the local water, aided by the specially-trained sniffing dogs. So far, they’ve returned empty-handed, but there’s a lot of ground to cover.
This special, invading mussels sniffing ops is being carried out by FWP in collaboration with many federal and state agencies, including MISAC (Montana Invasive Species Advisory Council).
But the authorities are confident that the special K9 unit will speed up things a bit. So far, they’ve covered Canyon Ferry and the Tiber, but the sniffing dogs have yet to identify any adult zebra mussels.
This lengthy operation started after the local wildlife authorities have identified zebra mussel larvae in water samples taken from Lake Frances, Hauser Reservoir, Fresno, and Holter. While the test results are a reason for concern, authorities are content with the fact that there’s a simple test that can indicate whether a region is contaminated or not.
The search for the invasive mussels are still underway, but the authorities are confident that with the help of their K9 unit and the water tests they will be able to eradicate the zebra mussel colonies.
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