Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Availability of Armored Snail Draft Recovery Plan

Denise Rowell,, telephone: 251-656-3490

A draft recovery plan is now available for the armored snail, listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on February 25, 2000. Less than four millimeters long, the armored snail is only found in streams of the Limestone Creek and Piney Creek watersheds in northern Alabama.

The armored snail usually inhabits submerged root masses and mosses along creek edges, but it may also be found on rocks and leafy or woody debris, and on other aquatic plants. Primary threats to the armored snail are water quality degradation and the curtailment of its range due to the construction of the Wheeler Dam in the 1930s and the resulting impoundment of the Tennessee River. Another threat is invasive, non-native species, such as the zebra mussel and the invasive aquatic plant, hydrilla. Catastrophic events like droughts or floods could also severely impact the species survival and genetic viability, especially since the armored snail has a life expectancy of only one year.

The recovery plan drafted for the armored snail includes specific criteria for determining when it should be considered for delisting, removing it from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The draft plan lists site-specific actions that will be necessary to meet those criteria and estimates the time and costs required for implementing actions necessary to achieve recovery.

To promote and support the conservation and survival of endangered and threatened species, and provide a transparent path to achieving recovery, the Service and its partners develop and implement recovery plans. Recovery plans are unique to each species and serve as central organizing tools that provide important guidance on methods of minimizing threats to listed species, such as restoring and acquiring habitat, removing introduced predators or invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
, conducting surveys, monitoring individual populations, and breeding species in captivity and releasing them into their historical range. Recovery plans identify measurable and objective criteria against which progress toward recovery of a species can be tracked over time. Recovery plans are guidance and not regulatory documents, and no agency or entity is required by the ESA to implement actions in a recovery plan.

The Service recently revised the recovery planning process for all our species, nationwide. With this revised process, actual on‐the‐ground activities for implementing the actions in the recovery plan are described in a separate document known as the Recovery Implementation Strategy (RIS). The RIS is intended to be an adaptable, nimble operational plan for stepping down recovery plan actions into manageable, step‐by‐step activities. This adaptive mechanism is intended to allow the plan to focus on a longer, more strategic timeframe while providing greater flexibility in how we implement the recovery plan.

The Service is seeking review and comment on the draft recovery plan for the armored snail from local, state, and federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the public.

Specifically, we are seeking submission of any information that enhances the necessary understanding of the (1) species biology and threats and (2) recovery needs and related implementation issues or concerns. This ensures that we have assembled, considered, and incorporated the best available scientific and commercial information into the draft recovery plan for this species.

The draft recovery plan is available for download at the following websites:

To obtain a copy by mail, send a request to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alabama Ecological Services Field Office, 1208 B Main Street, Daphne, Alabama 36526-4419, telephone 251-441-5181.

To ensure consideration, the Service must receive written comments on this draft recovery plan by January 5, 2024. However, we will accept information about any species at any time.

You may submit comments in writing by U.S. mail to Erin Sasser, Alabama Ecological Service Field Office, 1208 B Main Street, Daphne, Alabama 36526-4419; or e-mail to

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at

Story Tags

Endangered and/or Threatened species
Habitat conservation