SULPHUR, Okla. – Visitors at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area’s Lake of the Arbuckles may meet a new line of defense in the fight against aquatic invasive species with a nose for detecting them.
Raine, a golden retriever, and border collies Wisp and Darby can inspect an average sized bass boat in under a minute – far faster than any person can, and are trained to detect several invasive species, including zebra mussels.
“Lake of the Arbuckles is one of a few large lakes in Oklahoma that is not already infested with zebra mussels, and we will do everything we can to keep our lake free of harmful invasive species,” says park superintendent Bill Wright. “These types of efforts will not only help us educate people on how to avoid bringing exotic species to the Lake of the Arbuckles but also help us teach the public some simple practices for protecting all of our region’s outdoor recreational areas.”
Raine, Wisp, Darby, and their handler will be out for three weeks checking boats at the park boat launches.
These special inspectors will then head to five other parks as part of a summer-long collaboration between the National Park Service, Working Dogs for Conservation, and SP8 Ecological Services to help share the message about how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Any boats or equipment that fail inspection will be directed to town to clean off their equipment before returning to the lake to launch.
For more information about Chickasaw National Recreation Area, click here or call the Travertine Nature Center at (580) 622-7234.
For more information about aquatic invasive species, click here.