For Immediate Release, February 17, 2009
Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 283-5474
Rob Mrowka, Center for Biological Diversity, (702) 249-5821
Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for
42 Great Basin Spring Snail Species
LAS VEGAS, Nev.— Today the Center for Biological Diversity and the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society filed a scientific petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect 42 spring snail species from Nevada, Utah, and California as endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.
“These 42 species of spring snails are severely threatened by groundwater withdrawal proposed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority and other users,” said Tierra Curry, conservation biologist with the Center and lead author of the petition. “Unsustainable groundwater pumping threatens not just these snails but also hundreds of other desert species and water supplies for rural residents and future generations.”
Because spring snails are dependent on consistent groundwater flow, reductions in flow will have an immediate impact on their populations. As such, spring snails are an excellent indicator of declining water tables. The spring snails are found primarily in Clark, Lincoln, Nye, and White Pine counties in Nevada and Beaver and Millard counties in Utah. Fourteen of the species occur at only a single location, and 39 occur at 10 or fewer locations. None are currently protected on state, federal, or private lands.
“Without protection under the Endangered Species Act, these spring snails will be lost forever,” said Rob Mrowka, a conservation advocate with the Center. “Groundwater withdrawal, spring diversion, livestock grazing, and an array of other threats severely threaten these 42 spring snail species along with the other species that depend on desert springs.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has 90 days to determine whether the petition presents substantial scientific information to warrant Endangered Species Act protection for the spring snails and one year to determine if the species warrant protection as endangered species.