Tulotoma Snail on the Road to Recovery
June 2, 2011
- Denise Rowell, Denise_Rowell@fws.gov, 251-441-6630
- Tom MacKenzie, FWS, Tom_MacKenzie@fws.gov, (404) 679-7291
Tulotoma snails. Photo: Outdooralabama.org
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today reclassified the tulotoma snail from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act, declaring the snail is making major strides on the road to recovery.
“The improved status of the tulotoma snail is a direct result of coordinated efforts by the Service and its partners, including state and federal agencies, the Alabama Power Company, and the Alabama Clean Water Partnership,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “The accomplishments of these partners show that the Endangered Species Act works.”
The 2000 Mobile River Basin Aquatic Ecosystem Recovery Plan outlined recovery tasks and criteria to reclassify the tulotoma snail, only found in the Coosa and Alabama Rivers in Alabama, to threatened status. Recovery actions benefitting the species include discovery of additional populations, population monitoring, censuses of the snail’s population and habitat, the establishment of minimum flows below Jordan Dam to improve habitat conditions, the implementation of pulsing flows below Logan Martin Dam to improve dissolved oxygen in that reach, and the development of watershed management plans to address pollution in the lower Coosa and Alabama River basins.
Because of these recovery actions, the known range of the tulotoma snail increased from less than two percent to ten percent of the species’ historical range since its listing in 1991. There is an increase in the extent and size of the tulotoma snail population in the Coosa River below Jordan Dam, due to the minimum flows released from the Jordan Dam by Alabama Power Company. Studies document an increase in the range of the Kelly, Hatchet, and Weogufka creek populations and expansion of the Kelly Creek population into the Coosa River below Logan Martin Dam. Monitoring of the Yellowleaf, Choccolocco, and Weoka Creek populations indicates they have remained stable since their discovery. Tulotoma colonies also were discovered at three new locations in the Alabama River.
The tulotoma is an ornamented, aquatic snail. It was listed as endangered in 1991. At that time, the tulotoma snail had disappeared from 98 percent of its historical range and was only known to occur in five localized areas in the lower Coosa River drainage in Alabama. These included one small reach in the main channel of the Coosa River below Jordan Dam and the lower reaches of four Coosa River tributaries: Ohatchee, Kelly, Hatchet, and Weogufka Creeks. The tulotoma snail disappeared from the Ohatchee Creek, the smallest of the four tributaries, because of pollution.
The status of the tulotoma snail is improving to such a degree it is no longer in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. As a threatened species, the tulotoma snail will continue to be protected. Federal agencies will continue to be required to protect the species and its habitat. The range of the tulotoma remains highly fragmented and the populations are still vulnerable to pollution, contaminant spills, droughts, or other catastrophic events within their respective watersheds.
Copies of the final rule are available on the Internet at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, or by writing to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Suite A, Jackson, MS 39213; or by calling 601-321‑1121.
The final rule was published in today’s Federal Register. The proposed rule was published on June 22, 2010. No comments were received during the 60-day public comment period for the proposed rule.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Visit the Service’s website at http://www.fws.gov or http://www.fws.gov/southeast/