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Adult Ichetucknee siltsnails. Photo by Erin Gawera, USFWS.

Federal protection of tiny snail not needed

The Ichetucknee siltsnail, a species whose shell is only nine one-hundredths of an inch in size, does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) according to federal biologists. The snail is found in a single Florida spring in Ichetucknee River State Park.

This decision is in partial response to a 2010 petition to provide federal protection to 404 species in the southeastern United States. The petitioner identified water pollution, spring flows and recreational disturbance as threats to the continued survival of the snail.

Following a thorough review of the best available scientific information on the species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists found the park is not subject to development and is being managed, in part, to maintain and enhance existing habitat. In addition, the parks management plan identifies specific actions to benefit Ichetucknee siltsnail.

Today, populations of Ichetucknee siltsnails are abundant, and data shows these populations appear to have been stable since 1968.

While listing determinations are based on multiple factors that include population trends and an analysis of threats to the species survival, listing a species is the last line of defense to prevent extinction. Since 2011, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, working with state partners, have determined that 64 southeastern species either did not need federal protection as a result of conservation actions, additional information such as updated survey data, and/or reevaluation of threats to their survival. Another 12 species now require less protection or no protection at all.

The Service actively works with partners across the Southeast to address conservation needs of wildlife in an effective effort to prevent the need for listing species. Doing so benefits wildlife and contributes to human quality of life by providing clean water, air, and open spaces for recreation.

For more information check out the Federal Register Notice (Reading Room version) and Questions and Answers on Not Warranted Decision for Ichetucknee siltsnail.

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 can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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