Twenty six rare mollusks may warrant federal protection as a threatened or endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week.
The decision, known as a 90-day finding, is based on scientific information about the species provided in the petition requesting listing of the species under the Endangered Species Act. The petition finding does not mean that the Service has decided it is appropriate to give the 26 mollusks federal protection under the ESA. Rather, this finding is the first step in a long process that triggers a more thorough review of all the biological information available.
Twenty-nine species and subspecies of mollusk included in the petition were reviewed. All are endemic (native and restricted) to the Pacific Northwest and occur in western Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. The mollusks are found mostly on federal lands where they receive some protections under the Northwest Forest Plan’s Survey and Manage Program.
Fourteen of the petitioned species and subspecies are aquatic and 15 are terrestrial (13 land snails and 2 slugs). They exist primarily in small isolated populations. Fourteen of the species and subspecies are known from 10 or fewer sites.
Fish and Wildlife Offices in California, Oregon and Washington involved in the management of each species are listed below:
-- Sacramento: Big Bar hesperian snail, Canary duskysnail, Cinnamon juga snail, Goose Valley pebblesnail, Hat Creek pebblesnail, Knobby rams-horn snail, Nugget pebblesnail, Potem Creek pebblesnail, Shasta chaparral snail, Shasta hesperian snail, Shasta pebblesnail, Shasta sideband snail, Siskiyou sideband snail, Tehama chaparral snail, Wintu sideband snail.
-- Klamath Falls: Diminutive pebblesnail, Nerite pebblesnail, Tall pebblesnail.
-- Portland: Basalt juga snail, Columbia duskysnail, Columbia Oregonian snail, Crater Lake tightcoil snail, Dalles sideband snail.
-- Lacey: Evening fieldslug, Hoko vertigo snail, Keeled jumping-slug, Puget Oregonian snail.
-- Spokane: Chelan mountainsnail, Masked duskysnail.
To ensure a comprehensive status review, the Service is soliciting information from state and federal natural resource agencies and all interested parties regarding the mollusks and their habitat.
Based on the status review, the Service will make one of three possible determinations for each species.
1) Listing is not warranted, in which case no further action will be taken.
2) Listing as threatened or endangered is warranted. In this case, the Service will publish a proposal to list, solicit independent scientific peer review of the proposal, seek input from the public, and consider the input before a final decision about listing the species is made. In general, there is a one-year period between the time a species is proposed and the final decision.
3) Listing is warranted but precluded by other, higher priority activities. This means the species is added to the federal list of candidate species, and the proposal to list is deferred while the Service works on listing proposals for other species that are at greater risk. A warranted but precluded finding requires subsequent annual reviews of the finding until such time as either a listing proposal is published, or a not warranted finding is made based on new information.
For more information about the 29 mollusks petitioned and this finding, go to www.fws.gov/sacramento