|The Iowa Pleistocene Snail. Photo Credit: Lisa Maas/USFWS|
The latest issue of Fish & Wildlife News features several stories on our work across programs and with outside partners to conserve the land. As Jude Smith, the manager of a complex of national wildlife refuges in New Mexico and Texas and one of the focuses of a story in the News, put it: “Whatever we are doing on the refuge complex, I’m considering how we can take the benefits and knowledge we have gained to surrounding landowners on the larger landscape. This complex is too small to make the big difference for wildlife that we are after.” More than 70% of the land in this country is privately owned, so we look beyond our borders to conserve wild things and wild places. In the magazine, Lisa Maas, Tamra Lewis and Drew Becker tell you about this collaborative effort to recover the Iowa Pleistocene Snail.
A Snail’s Journey to Recovery
Ready. Set. Search! The snail technicians begin a timed search, rifling through leaf litter in front of cold air vents on a steep hillside. Some wear gloves to protect fingers from stinging nettles and cold air blowing out of the vents. One dons a headlamp to get a better look inside a deep vent. “Found one!” another yells, excitedly.
They are on an ecological treasure hunt to find the elusive and federally protected Iowa Pleistocene snail. Their work is part of a cooperative recovery effort between the Rock Island Ecological Services Field Office and Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge. Their goal: to recover the snail, a species reminiscent of another age.