BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The effort to combat the spread and introduction of invasive zebra mussels in North Dakota waters is going to the dogs.

According to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has partnered with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens who will employ their professionally trained K-9 companions to detect the presence of zebra and quagga mussels as well as other Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) on boats being launched in the North Dakota Governor’s Walleye Cup tournament, which is being held July 15-16.

The corps will host a mussel K-9 demonstration open to the public on July 14 at 10 a.m. at Ft. Stevenson State Park south of Garrison. The K-9s and handlers will inspect each boat for invasive species during angler registration and launching.

Joyce Pfliger, Governor’s Walleye Cup chairwoman, applauds the addition of ANS-sniffing dogs to the long-running tournament on the big lake.

“The opportunity to have these ANS sniffing dogs take part in the Governor’s Walleye Cup and to assist with keeping our lake free of ANS is fantastic,” she said. “Hopefully, with bringing these dogs to North Dakota, it will open up the possibility of having ANS dogs here permanently. This would be one positive, additional step in the fight against ANS.”