Frequently Asked Questions - Kings River Pyrg 90-day Finding

About the Species

The Kings River pyrg is a small springsnail found in 13 isolated springs within a 14-mile radius in Thacker Pass and the Montana Mountains in Humboldt County, Nevada. 

Springsnails are just millimeters in length (the tip of a ballpoint pen), yet they play an important role in their habitat as primary consumers, eating algae and maintaining water quality. As their name suggests, springsnails live primarily in springs but can also be found in streams and seeps across the West. Many species of springsnail are highly endemic, meaning they are often found in only a single spring or cluster of springs. They are also closely tied to the water quality and chemistry of the spring source.

Possible threats that could result in spring modification and impacts to Kings River pyrg habitat include livestock grazing, infrastructure development, drought, climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
and mining because the pyrg is currently only known to live in a very limited area (just 13 springs within a 14-mile radius).

Q: What is a 90-day finding? 

A 90-day finding is the first step in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s petition process. 

Under the Endangered Species Act, any person or organization can petition the Service to list a species as threatened or endangered, reclassify or delist a species, or revise critical habitat. 

Upon receipt of a petition, the Service evaluates whether the petition includes enough credible information to warrant a full in-depth status review of the species to determine whether or not it requires the protections of the Endangered Species Act. To the maximum extent possible, the Service completes this evaluation and issues its findings within 90 days.

Positive 90-day findings represent a relatively low bar, requiring only that the petitioner provides credible information in the petition that an in-depth review may be warranted. A positive 90-day finding is the first step in the petition process and does not indicate the species will be listed as threatened or endangered; the positive finding indicates only that an in-depth review is warranted and that a full status review should occur.

Learn more about the petition process here: The ESA Petition Process

Q: What action is the Service announcing?

The Service has completed a 90-day finding on a petition from the Western Watersheds Project to list the Kings River pyrg as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The Service found that the petition provided substantial information indicating that an in-depth status review is warranted. 

Q: What does the Service analyze when reviewing a petition for a 90-day finding? What did the Service determine when analyzing the petition to list the Kings River pyrg?

When evaluating a petition, we assess the information provided to ensure it is valid and credible and whether the conclusions drawn in the petition are reasonable based on readily available information. If we find that the petition provides credible information indicating that one or more threats are or will likely hurt the species, we make a positive, 90-day finding. 

Based on the Service’s review of readily available information, we do not anticipate that the species is immediately at risk; however, the petition presented credible information about potential and ongoing threats that could impact the pyrg. Specifically, spring modification, primarily as a result of water diversion, is occurring and presents threats to water volume or flow patterns within the species’ range and within locations where the species is likely to occur. The petition also discusses several additional threats that could result in spring modification and impacts to Kings River pyrg habitat, including livestock grazing, roads, drought, climate change, and mining.

As part of reviewing readily available information, the Service reviewed the nearby Thacker Pass lithium mine’s Final Environmental Impact Statement. Based on a review of this resource, the Service does not anticipate impacts to the groundwater table for approximately 10 years. We will fully evaluate all potential threats during our 12-month finding in-depth status review. 

As the Service moves forward with adding the Kings River pyrg to the national listing workplan for a full species status assessment, we intend to work with all partners in the local area including Tribes, state and federal land management agencies and private entities, to develop strategies to ensure the conservation of the species and its habitat.

More information on the Service’s review of the petition to list the Kings River pyrg is available in the Petition Review Form, posted in the supporting documents section of the Federal Register notice upon publication.

Q: What happens next?

Because the petition to list Kings River pyrg presented substantial information that listing may be warranted, the Service will determine the urgency of conducting a status review and schedule the review on our national listing workplan. The status review will occur consistent with the workplan and using the best available scientific information. The status review will inform a 12-month finding as to whether listing is warranted, not warranted, or warranted but precluded. 

In the interim, the Service will continue to engage with our federal, Tribal, state and private partners to conserve and protect rare species like Kings River pyrg.

If the Service determines in its 12-month finding that listing the Kings River pyrg as a threatened or endangered species is warranted, we will publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register, providing the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed listing.

Q: How can I provide information for the status review?

During the status review the Service will seek information from the scientific community and other interested parties for consideration in the species status assessment. Details on how to submit information can be found in the Federal Register notice, or by submitting directly to the Reno Fish and Wildlife Office:

Via email: 

Subject: Kings River Pyrg SSA


Via U.S. mail: 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Reno Fish and Wildlife Office

Attn: Kings River Pyrg SSA

1340 Financial Blvd.; Suite 234

Reno, NV 89502

Q: Is the petition available to the public?

Yes, upon publication, the petition, and other supporting documents to the 90-day finding are available on by searching for docket number FWS-R8-ES-2023-0261.

Q: Is Kings River pyrg on public or private land?

Currently, Kings River pyrg is known to occur in 13 isolated springs on both private land and Bureau of Land Management land in Thacker Pass and the southwestern side of the Montana Mountains in Humboldt County, Nevada.

Q: How will this action affect public land use for activities like lithium mining, grazing or recreation?

A 90-day finding is not a regulatory action and does not affect public land use activities.

Q: Does the state of Nevada protect Kings River pyrg?

The Kings River pyrg is listed in the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s 2022 State Wildlife Action Plan as a species of greatest conservation need and is on the Nevada Division of Natural Heritage’s At-Risk Plant and Animal Tracking List. However, these are informational rather than protective designations, and the state of Nevada provides no other protection.

Q: What efforts are underway to aid in the conservation of the species? 

Much remains unknown about the Kings River pyrg, and the Service is working with our public and private partners to conduct surveys and other research to learn more about the species' distribution, habitat and life cycle needs.