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Sniffer dogs lend a nose to Alberta’s mandatory boat inspections

sniffer dog

Sniffer dogs will help with enforcement of Alberta’s squatic invasive species legislation.

Alberta’s fight against zebra and quagga mussels will have a few more paws on the ground thanks to the addition of a full-time crew of canine inspectors.
As Alberta introduces mandatory boat inspections, inspectors will be happy to have the help of sniffer dogs to speed up the inspection process.
“Aquatic invasive species are one the largest threats facing Alberta’s waterways and biodiversity,” Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Kyle Fawcett said. “The inclusion of mandatory boat inspections and sniffer dogs to our aquatic invasive species program are essential tools in our arsenal against a zebra and quagga mussel infestation.”
Once Bill 13 is proclaimed into law, watercraft inspections will become mandatory and inspection stations will be located at commercial vehicle weigh stations throughout the province, as well as main points of entry.
Following a successful pilot last summer, Working Dogs for Conservation will provide Wicket, Lily and Orbee to carry out inspections, while Alberta works to train its own permanent team of canines.
The dogs will be focusing on Albertans returning home from the mussel-infested southern United States.
“We must all work together to ensure we protect our vital water environment and our economy in southern Alberta,” said Ron McMullin, executive director of the Alberta Irrigation Projects Association. “Our partnership with the government to fund these dogs and their handlers, together with mandatory boat inspections, will protect the more than 4,000 kilometres of irrigation pipelines in southern Alberta.”
Zebra and quagga mussels can spread quickly and live out of water for up to 30 days.
Once introduced to a water body, they are virtually impossible to eradicate.
The province estimates that an infestation of invasive mussels in Alberta could cost the province more than $75-million annually — including damage to infrastructure and recreational opportunities.
For aquatic invasive species inquiries and reports call 1-855-336-2628.

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