Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 22, 2014

Contact:  Jaclyn Lopez, (727) 490-9190 or  

Settlement Reached to Save Rare Florida Snail and Beautiful Spring

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reached a settlement today that requires the agency to make a decision by June 30, 2016 about whether the rare Ichetucknee siltsnail should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The siltsnail lives only in 10 square yards of submerged mosses and cypress roots at Coffee Spring, along the west bank of the Ichetucknee River, and is threatened by upstream pollution and water withdrawal.

“This is great news for the tiny siltsnail, which has clung to life on its 10 square yards on the Ichetucknee River and is in danger of extinction,” said Jaclyn Lopez, a Florida-based attorney with the Center. “Park managers have kept this species alive, and Endangered Species Act protections will help it thrive.”

The spring-fed Ichetucknee River is typically crystal-clear, attracting many recreational visitors to Ichetucknee Springs State Park. But the springs that feed it are threatened by diminishing outputs brought on by drought, groundwater pumping and nitrate pollution. This harms the siltsnail, which is extremely limited in range.

The Ichetucknee siltsnail is one of 10 species across the country that will receive protection decisions under today’s settlement. The other species include the Alexander Archipelago wolf from Alaska, the San Bernardino flying squirrel, the black-backed woodpecker from California and South Dakota, which is considered as two “distinct populations,” Kirtland’s snake from the Midwest, and four freshwater species from the southeastern United States, including two fish, a mussel and a crayfish. The animals are facing extinction for many reasons, chief among them habitat loss from logging and sprawl, groundwater overuse, climate change and pollution.

Under its landmark settlement agreement reached with the Service in 2011 for 757 imperiled species across the country, the Center can seek expedited protection decisions for 10 species per year. To date, 137 species have gained Endangered Species Act protection as the result of the agreement, and another six have been proposed for protection.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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