The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) to recover the federally endangered Iowa Pleistocene Snail.
A USFWS Cooperative Recovery Initiative Grant has been issued for use to demonstrate recovery of the Iowa Pleistocene Snail through monitoring known populations and surveying for new ones.
The USFWS set up a cooperative agreement with the Foundation, which will hire biological technicians to conduct the surveys.
The Iowa Pleistocene Snail is a glacial relict species that has survived for over 400,000 years. Once thought to be extinct, it was discovered in the early 20th century living on algific talus slopes of northeast Iowa. The species was listed as federal endangered in 1977.
Algific (cold air) talus (loose rock) slopes are a unique and novel ecosystem, occurring only in the Driftless Area of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Vents located on the slopes produce cold (40 degree F) air throughout the summer, creating cold soil microhabitats that support a unique assemblage of species, including the snail and the federally threatened plant, Northern Monkshood.
All Iowa Pleistocene Snail populations occur entirely on the algific talus slopes of northeast Iowa and northwest Illinois.