A frequent problem in coastal watersheds is detection of high bacteria counts at beaches. Tracking the sources of the bacteria back up rivers, creeks and storm drains is difficult, time consuming and costly. But there may be a better way - using a trained, sewage-sniffing dog.
We wrote about the success of Sable and other dogs trained by Scott Reynolds of Environmental Canine Services in Michigan in 2009. Sable's exploits have led to a group of dogs from Sonoma and Marin Counties in northern California being trained by Scott to identify the presence of raw sewage in creeks and other natural waterways and in storm drains. Seven humans and eight dogs meet regularly for training sessions that last about 90 minutes. They are sceduled to complete their training and be certified by April.
We're looking forward to hearing about the progress of these new dog detective recruits in keeping our beaches clean.