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Paul McKenzie 573-876-1911 x 107

Georgia Parham 812-334-4261 x 203 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Approves Plan to Recover Tumbling Creek Cavesnail

A plan to guide efforts to recover the endangered Tumbling Creek cavesnail has been approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is now available, the Service announced yesterday. The Tumbling Creek cavesnail, found only in one cave stream in Missouri, was listed by the Service as endangered in 2002 under the Endangered Species Act.

The approved recovery plan provides a blueprint for agencies and other managers to address threats to the cavesnail, prevent its extinction, and help restore populations to healthy levels. The Tumbling Creek cavesnail is found only in Tumbling Creek in Taney County, Missouri. Survey efforts indicate that the cavesnailís numbers have dropped dramatically in recent years.
The Endangered Species Act defines endangered species as plants and animals likely to become extinct in the foreseeable future in all or a significant portion of their range. The act also calls for the Service to direct development of plans to recover listed species.

The plan, a draft of which was made available for public comment and reviewed by cave experts, recommends steps to stabilize or increase the cavesnail population, protect habitat, monitor contaminants, conduct research on the species, and raise awareness of the cavesnail and its link to good water quality.

The number of Tumbling Creek cavesnails has significantly decreased over the past few decades; only one individual was found within established survey areas between January 11, 2001, and April 22, 2003. A small population containing approximately 40 individuals exists upstream of the area that is regularly surveyed.

The Tumbling Creek cavesnail lives on the underside of rocks in areas of Tumbling Creek that have little or no silt. Not much is known about the species and its life history, but it is believed to feed on microscopic animals in the stream. The primary cause for the cavesnail's decline appears to be decreased water quality due to increased erosion and pollution in the waters that feed the cave stream, although scientific research is needed to confirm this.

The approved recovery plan for the Tumbling Creek cavesnail may be viewed on the Serviceís website at Copies are available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Columbia, Missouri Ecological Services Field Office, 608 East Cherry Street, Room 200, Columbia Missouri 65201-7712, telephone 573-876-1911. The Serviceís Midwest website at provides additional information on the Tumbling Creek cavesnail and other endangered and threatened species in the Midwest. TTY users may contact the Service through the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

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. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.





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