In an attempt to minimize the potential damage produced by zebra mussel, several federal and state organizations have mobilized sniffing dog units.
Over the next couple of weeks, representatives from Montana’s wildlife department, along with several other agencies, will be searching the waters around Montana with specially-trained K9 units.
The purpose of this expedition is to identify and eradicate colonies of zebra mussels, known for their destructive habits. Up until now, the authorities aided by the sniffing dogs managed to search Canyon Ferry and Tiber thoroughly, but they did not find any trace of zebra mussels.
However, their search is far from over, since they have a lot more terrain to cover. Zebra mussels belong to the freshwater mussel family, being closely related to quagga mussels. Like its quagga relative, the zebra mussel is a filter feeder, being able to remove food particle from water columns. Only one zebra mussel can process up to one liter of water per day.
Zebra mussels can easily be recognized by their striped pattern. While most of them aren’t bigger than a fingernail, some of them can reach lengths up to 5 centimeters.
The reason why the Montana authorities are trying to eradicate zebra mussels is that the underwater creatures have a tendency to attach themselves to hard surfaces. This may not sound that menacing, but they can become quite invasive and destructive when they amass in colonies.
For example, many colonies of zebra mussels have been discovered in underwater pipes that belonged to water filtering stations. The accumulation of mussels decreased the water flow and made the machinery shut down on a daily basis.
Zebra mussels also attach themselves to boats’ hulls and some of them even reach the engine’s outlets. As a result, the boat’s engines begin to overheat.
In addition, zebra mussels can also disturb an underwater system since they eat small particles that also nourish other species of creatures.
Presently, the search continues for the elusive zebra mussels, but there’s so much ground to cover that the authorities are beginning to doubt that there’s an adult mussel to be had. However, tests performed on water samples gathered from Montana revealed high amounts of zebra mussel larvae.
But with the help of their specially-trained K9 units, the authorities feel that they will get to the bottom of this mystery, one way or the other.
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