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Weed Sniffing Dogs Help Rid Mount Sentinel of Invasive Plant [AUDIO]

Wibaux weed dog
photo courtesy of MSU Photo Sepp Jannotta

Dyer’s woad is an invasive plant found in five Montana locations, one of which is on Missoula’s iconic Mount Sentinel. 

University of Montana Natural Areas Specialist, Marilyn Marler said she doesn’t want Dyer’s woad to become the next spotted knapweed.

Dyer’s Woad is a mustard that was brought here from Europe and it’s an invasive species just like knapweed,” Marler said. “We want to stop the spread of this weed as quickly as possible, and for that we need help.”

The kind of help Marler refers to is not from herbicide, but weed-sniffing search dogs.

“We have been working with a nonprofit called Working Dogs for Conservation, to help find difficult things in the environment, and they’ve trained some search dogs to find this plant by scent,” she said. “We’ve actually done comparisons between a person searching on their own, versus using a search dog to find the plants, and the person looking without help from the dog is missing over 40 percent of the plants. So, the dog has really improved our ability to find these invasive weeds.”

According to a news release from University Relations, the Mount Sentinel work is funded by the Missoula County Weed District, the City of Missoula, the Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund, UM and the Pleaides Foundation of Missoula.

University of Montana Natural Areas Specialist, Marilyn Marler

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