Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

Service Removes Idaho Springsnail From the Endangered Species List

August 6, 2007

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that the Idaho springsnail (Prygulopsis idahoensis) no longer needs protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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The Service made this decision after finding that four groups of freshwater springsnails living in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, including the Idaho springsnail, actually comprise one species, Pyrgulopsis robusta. The four groups of springsnails include the Idaho springsnail (Pyrgulopsis idahoensis), the Jackson Lake springsnail (Pyrgulopsis robusta), the Harney Lake springsnail (Pyrgulopsis hendersoni), and the Columbia springsnail (Pyrgulopsis sp. A). All four are now considered one species, Pyrgulopsis robusta, commonly referred to as the Jackson Lake springsnail.

Because the Idaho springsnail is now categorized as the new species P. robusta, the Service is removing it from the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

The newly-combined P. robusta occurs in the lower and middle Columbia River, in at least 52 springs in southeast Oregon, in 214 river miles of the Snake River in Idaho, and in 2 springs in Wyoming.

"We have learned through peer reviewed genetic studies that the Idaho springsnail, which was listed in 1992 as an endangered species, is not a separate species, and is now grouped with a new species (P. robusta). This newly-combined species is distributed over a wider geographic area than in the original listing and does not need ESA protection," said Jeff Foss, Field Supervisor of the Services Snake River Fish and Wildlife Office in Boise, Idaho.

The snail was added to the list of threatened and endangered species in 1992 as a result of habitat modification, deteriorating water quality, restriction to free-flowing cool water habitats, significant range reduction, the appearance of the invasive New Zealand mud snail, and potential impacts from several proposed hydroelectric dams. At the time of listing, the Idaho springsnail was known to occur in only 35 river miles in the middle Snake River.

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class=NoparagraphFollowing a status review, the Service published a finding in September 2006, that the best scientific information available indicated that Prygulopsis robusta did not require protection under the ESA. Pursuant to that finding, the Service also published a proposed rule to delist theIdaho springsnail due to the taxonomic revision.

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class=NoparagraphThe Service will continue to monitor the status of Pyrgulopsis robusta and will accept additional information and comments from all governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested party concerning the species. If future information demonstrates declines in P. robusta populations, the agency may re-initiate a status review of the species to assess its status.

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