OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A local officer named Puddles is making a big difference in the fight against invasive species, helping the state save more than $100 million a year -- one mussel at a time.
Puddles is a 2-year-old rescue dog trained to sniff out invasive mussels on boats coming from out of state. She sniffs them out and barks when she finds them.
Quagga and zebra mussels can clog piping and mechanical systems of industrial plants, utilities, locks and dams. Researchers estimate that invasive species could cost $137 billion annually in damages to crops, forests, fish and other wildlife nationally.
According to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, if these invasive mussels get into the Columbia River, they could clog irrigation systems, making farm costs and municipal water bills go up.
Her reward for helping all of us in Washington? Toys.