Specially trained dogs sniff for invasive mussels at Montana Lake

Specially trained dogs sniff for invasive mussels at Montana Lake

Dogs were mobilized on Friday to sniff for invasive mussels to help officials determine if adult forms of the vicious aquatic bullies have infested the popular north-central Montana fishery.

The first time the vicious aquatic bullies showed up in Montana waters was in October, when mussel larvae were detected in the reservoir nearly 25 miles southwest of Chester and 90 miles northeast of Great Falls.

Yesterday, the specifically trained three teams of canine detection dogs from Montana and Canada were taken to the reservoir to sniff out the invasive mussels, zebra and quagga mussels, which might be hiding in the crevices and rocks.

The Flathead Basin Commission’s Heidi Sedivy said, “It’s a problem that’s a very difficult one to address. Like any invasive species, they reproduce at a rapids rates … We have put forth a lot of effort to keep the Flathead Basin protected, and we really hope this bad news is contained at Tiber.”

The invasive mussels, which can grow to an inch in size, can cause millions in ecological and economic damage. They attach to surfaces with byssal threads, and spread by attaching to boats. They often clog pipes, interrupting the flow of water used for municipal use, agriculture and hydroelectric power.


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