|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 1997
|Diana M. Hawkins or
Vicki M. Boatwright
FOR PROTECTED STATUS BY U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service is proposing to add six Alabama freshwater snails to the Federal list of
threatened and endangered species. The cylindrical lioplax, flat pebblesnail and plicate
rocksnail are proposed for endangered status and the painted rocksnail, round rocksnail
and lacy elimia are proposed for threatened status.
Freshwater snails are considered strong indicators of stable, high-quality aquatic
habitat. Their presence reflects the quality of a watershed and as such has implications
for humans and a wide variety of wildlife.
The six Alabama freshwater snails have disappeared from 90 percent or more of their
historic ranges. Dams on the Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Alabama and Coosa rivers slowed
water currents allowing sand and silt to settle over rock and gravel river beds where the
snails once lived. Today, none of the six snails proposed for listing survive in those
rivers. Water pollution is believed to have caused the snails' disappearance in some
rivers and streams that had remained free-flowing.
Remaining populations of the six snail species are primarily threatened by sediment and
other pollutants entering their stream habitats in storm water runoff and Service
biologists are working with the Mobile River Basin Aquatic Ecosystem Coalition, a wide
cross-section of Alabama business, civic and environmental interests, to find ways to
reduce those threats.
The cylindrical lioplax, flat pebblesnail and round rocksnail can still be found in
small portions of the Cahaba River drainage in Bibb and Shelby counties. The lacy elimia
and painted rocksnails currently live in a few streams flowing into the Coosa River in
Talladega, Chilton and Calhoun counties, while the plicate rocksnail can be found only in
a small portion of the Locust Fork River in Jefferson County.
The Endangered Species Act defines an endangered species as one in danger of extinction
throughout all or a significant portion of its range, while a threatened species is one
that is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.
The Act further requires the Service to decide within a year of the publication of the
proposed listing whether to finalize regulatory protection for the six snails or to
withdraw the proposal. During this period, the Service, if requested, may hold at least
one public hearing on the proposed rule.
The Service is seeking comment, suggestions and any additional information on the
biology, threats, distribution, population size or current or planned activities and their
possible impacts on these species. Comments and other information submitted by December
16, 1997, will be considered before the Service reaches a final decision. A copy of the
snail proposal may be obtained by contacting the Service's field office in Jackson,
Mississippi, at 601-965-4900.
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Release #: R97-93
1997 News Releases