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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Status of Listed Species and Recovery Plan Development

Iowa Pleistocene Snail

Discus macclintocki -- Endangered


JPG-Iowa Pleistocene Snail     GIF-Occurrence map

Current Status:

Slope clearing, use of habitat as pasture, human traffic, and predation by shrews are the principal threats to this survivor from the Ice Age.


Algific slopes support Iowa Pleistocene snails and other unusual species. These steep slopes are comprised of talus at the base and are connected to upslope sinkhole drainage systems; cold moist air moves through the system and percolates out around the talus. Approximately 281 acres of slope sites supporting the snail have been purchased as part of a multi-agency acquisition program involving the Fish and Wildlife Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and The Nature Conservancy. A prospectus has been prepared for management of these slopes as inclusions in the Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge. Critical areas are being fenced to prevent grazing and human foot traffic.

Current Recovery Needs:

Additional purchase of habitat and fencing is needed, as well as continued monitoring to determine population status and extent of threats.

Section 6 Funding and Activities:

In both FY 1991 and FY 1992, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources received $9,000 to fence algific slope sites and monitor populations of the Iowa Pleistocene snail. This also benefits another endangered species, the northern wild monkshood (Aconitum noveboracense).


Iowa Department of Natural Resources: The Department has purchased and protected several algific slopes containing this species in a continuing effort to provide for its protection.

The Nature Conservancy: The Conservancy purchased eight algific slope sites, then transferred three to the Fish and Wildlife Service. The Conservancy continues to monitor the species and contact landowners to secure protection of other algific slope sites.

Recovery Plan Status:

Plan approved 3/22/84.

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