The provinces of Alberta and Manitoba are taking a “paws-on” approach to keep invasive species from entering their waterways.

Alberta has famously prevented rats from penetrating its borders and is now taking aim at invasive water species with the help of sniffer dogs at inspection stations.

Image from: Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development; Alberta Inspection Station
Image from: Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development; Alberta Inspection Station

Over last month’s long weekend, the province’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development officers inspected 269 watercraft destined for Alberta’s waterways.

Their inspections turned up seven boats that were deemed “high-risk” for contamination. They were either purchased or used in known contaminated provinces or states or displayed evidence of interaction with invasive species.

Image from: Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development; Mussel fouled propeller from Lake Mead, Arizona
Image from: Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development; Mussel fouled propeller from Lake Mead, Arizona

Measures were taken to decontaminate those boats.

Meanwhile, invasive zebra mussels have already shown up in some of Manitoba’s waterways and the government is taking action to prevent the spread there, too.

dontmoveamussel

Along with their “Don’t Move a Mussel” public awareness campaign, the province has also employed sniffer dogs to help detect invasive species at inspection stations.

Two German Shepherds have been trained to sniff out mussels. Instead of scratching or pawing at the boats, the dogs have been taught to sit as soon as they find something.

To report an invasive species finding in Alberta call 1 855 336-2628 (BOAT) and in Manitoba 1-87-STOP AIS-0 (1-877-867-2470).

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