Mussel-sniffing dogs on display to help prevent invasive species spread

State

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The Seaplane Pilots Association sponsored a mussel-detecting dog demo at Cherry Creek State Park. They are doing it to raise awareness of what they say could be a bad situation.

“Quagga” and “zebra” are part of the dreissenid family of mussels and they are not welcome in Colorado.

“Mussels are bad for Colorado because they mess up the water,” said Ray Hawkins, the Colorado Seaplane Pilots Association’s field director.

The quagga and zebra mussels were first detected in the Great Lakes area, which was cause for alarm in Colorado.

“They take all the nutrients out of the water. While they would make the water crystal clear — you could see all the way to the bottom — it means that the smaller fish (that) live on that stuff die off,” said Hawkins.

The worry now is quagga and zebra might be heading for Colorado.

“It is more than likely inevitable,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said that while seaplanes are not permitted in Colorado, the organization still cares about preventing the spread.

“Environment is a very important issue to us,” he said. “Just like an explosive canine or a drug sniffing dog, (The dog) is trained to be able to find these quagga mussels.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local Stories

More Local