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Zebra mussel sniffing K9s take aim at aquatic invasive species

With the fishing opener fast approaching, two new K9 dogs, trained to quickly locate zebra mussels on boats and trailers, will be helping the Department of Natural Resources prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The K9s help by quickly sniffing out any zebra mussels attached to boats or equipment. Newly certified K9s Shelby and Storm join veterans Brady and Reggie on the force for 2017.

“The invasive species program is excited to have two more K9 officers ready to detect zebra mussels on water-related equipment in the field and to educate people about aquatic invasive species and what each of us can do to stop the spread,” said Heidi Wolf, invasive species unit supervisor.

More DNR-trained watercraft inspectors, more decontamination units, expanded training efforts and greater public engagement all help prevent the spread of zebra mussels, starry stonewort and other aquatic invasive species.

“We need anglers, and everyone who enjoys Minnesota’s waters, to follow three simple steps: Clean, Drain, Dispose,” said Jackie Glaser, DNR enforcement operations manager. “It’s not only the best way to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, but it’s also the law in Minnesota. Clean aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species from watercraft; Drain lake or river water and keep drain plugs out during transport; and Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash, not in the water.”

In addition to these required steps, especially after leaving infested waters, the DNR recommends that anglers:

Spray boat and trailer with high-pressure water.
Rinse boat and trailer with very hot water (120 degrees for two minutes; or 140 degrees for 10 seconds).
Dry boat and equipment for at least five days.

Less than 2 percent of Minnesota lakes are listed as infested with zebra mussels.

More information is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.