USFWS Completes Final Recovery Plan for Meltwater Lednian & Western Glacier Stoneflies

Press Release
USFWS Completes Final Recovery Plan for Meltwater Lednian and Western Glacier Stoneflies
Climate change remains primary threat to these species
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DENVER — Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is announcing the completion and publication of the final recovery plan for the Meltwater Lednian stonefly (Lednia tumana) and Western Glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier). This follows the prior publication of the draft recovery plan and associated public comment period in December 2021. There are no substantial changes from the draft recovery plan, and updates in the final plan were primarily for additional clarity. The final recovery plan is now available on the Service’s ECOS website


The final plan sets the recovery criteria for these species as maintaining stable or increasing meltwater sources of at least 1,250 hectares across the species’ known range and at least 35 miles of occupied stream miles for both species. Recovery actions in the plan include surveying for additional populations, researching thermal tolerance limits, identifying potential translocation areas, and exploring controlled propagation options. 


The Meltwater Lednian Stonefly and Western Glacier Stonefly are small insects of the Nemouridae family that require cold, flowing water to survive. These species are found exclusively in high-elevation alpine streams flowing from glaciers and snowfields in Montana, Wyoming, and southwest Alberta. Known populations primarily reside on lands managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. 


Montana stoneflies require cold meltwater from glaciers and snowfields to survive, typically living no further than 500 feet downstream of these sources. Habitat degradation due to 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
remains the primary threat to these species. Climate change continues to significantly impact cold meltwater availability in the range of these species by reducing glaciers and snowfields from warming temperatures and fluctuating snowfall. Scientists project many of these meltwater sources to be melted as soon as 2030. These species cannot adapt to these changes as they already exist in the highest alpine environment possible. 


Recovery plans are non-regulatory documents that act as a guidebook towards a shared goal of ensuring a species' long-term survival in the wild. It outlines site-specific management actions that contribute to the recovery of the species, describes the time and cost estimates for implementing those actions, and outlines measurable criteria for delisting. More information about recovery planning is available on our website.    


The Service continues to work closely with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and greatly appreciates the efforts of these agencies and Tribes in supporting recovery planning and actions. 

Story Tags

Aquatic insects
Climate change
Endangered and/or Threatened species