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Dogs combat the spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels

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Dogs are the newest weapons in the effort to combat the spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels in North Dakota waters.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has partnered with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens, who will demonstrate the abilities of their K-9 companions at the North Dakota Governor's Walleye Cup tournament. At the demonstration, the K-9s and their handlers will inspect boats for the invasive mussels during angler registration and launching. Scott Sterling is a natural resources specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"These dogs are just another tool in the shed for us to find, detect, and educate, to bring awareness to the public of the devastating effect that quagga and zebra mussels will have on our environment and our lakes. Who doesn't love an dog, first of all, and secondly, they'll really help engage the public and drive that awareness that this is not just somebody's responsibility, but it's everyone's responsibility to clean, drain, and dry and keep the mussels out of our water bodies."

Sterling hopes that the event will create the possibility of bringing a mussel sniffing dog to North Dakota permanently.

"This is our first step to a bigger goal and a bigger picture. We want to do our due diligence, get the dogs here, see the demonstration, see how the public interacts with them, how the dogs interact with the public, their abilities of being able to find these mussels. Depending on how this goes, between state, federal, and local agencies, hopefully down the road, we can get our own dogs. "

The K-9 demonstration will be open to the public on July 14th at 10 a.m. at Ft. Stevenson State Park.