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Mark Twain School and the Tumbling Creek Cavesnail – A Community-Endangered Species Collaborative Success Story from Missouri Ecological Services
Midwest Region, May 18, 2007
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The Tumbling Creek cavesnail. 
- FWS photo
The Tumbling Creek cavesnail.

- FWS photo

- Photo Credit: n/a
Missouri Ecological Services Field Supervisor Charlie Scott accepts a plaque at a recent Mark Twain School awards ceremony. 
- FWS photo
Missouri Ecological Services Field Supervisor Charlie Scott accepts a plaque at a recent Mark Twain School awards ceremony.

- FWS photo

- Photo Credit: n/a

The Endangered Species Act not only improves the status of an endangered species but can also improve the socioeconomic conditions of a small rural community.  The endangered Tumbling Creek cavesnail presented such an opportunity to help the small town of Reuter, Missouri and its Mark Twain School with an important need.  

 

The Mark Twain School serves approximately 70 rural children from preschool through eighth grade.  The school is located in the recharge area of the Tumbling Creek Cave.  Currently the school uses an old lagoon for its sewage treatment and studies have shown that this lagoon leaks approximately 80 percent of the waste into the groundwater, and directly into the only known habitat for the Tumbling Creek cavesnail – Tumbling Creek Cave. 

 

In a collaborative effort involving the school, county, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and State agencies, the school will now get a new sewage treatment system and the water quality of the cave will be improved. 

 

This group was successful in securing $90,000 from grants and other sources for the new facility with no direct costs to the budget challenged school. 

 

The need to protect an endangered species provided the catalyst and inertia that formed the partnership, provided the school a solution to a major problem, and likely prevented its closing and consolidation with another rural school district.

 

The ground breaking ceremony for the new facility was held on February 17, 2006. 

 

This partnership will not end with the construction of the waste treatment facility.  The Service, Forest Service, and Missouri Department of Conservation will work with the school on the development of an outdoor education project for the children and community to learn about the role of the school and its partners and the value of protecting caves and endangered species like the Tumbling Creek cavesnail.


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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