Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center to Release Endangered Snails

The Alabama Department of Conservation’s Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries plans to release approximately 10,000 juvenile Plicate Rocksnails into the Locust Fork of the Black Water River in Blount County. These snails are offspring produced from 160 adult snails collected from Locust Fork in Jefferson County, and were artificially propagated and reared at the new Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center (AABC) at Marion, Ala. This will be the first release of an endangered species cultured at the new center.

The Plicate Rocksnail is an endangered species presently restricted to a short section of the Locust Fork in Jefferson County, but was historically found throughout the Black Warrior River Basin. This snail requires clean flowing waters and was eliminated from 97 percent of its historic range due to the construction of dams and water quality degradation. This recovery effort will expand the present range of the species, and if these efforts are successful, may eventually allow for the removal of the Plicate Rocksnail from the endangered species list.

The release is tentatively planned for the week of October 2 depending on weather and river conditions. The release will take place near the town of Locust Fork in Blount County. Contact the AABC at 334-683-5000 for more details concerning the release.

The AABC was formally established earlier this year by the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to develop recovery programs for the nearly 60 species of federally listed mussels, snails and fish that occur in Alabama waters. The center will also work with many other rare aquatic species native to Alabama waters in order to stabilize and restore populations within their habitats. The AABC is located near Marion in Perry County, Alabama. Renovation of AABC facilities is currently underway, and it will be fully operational in early 2008.

A portion of the funding for the operation of the AABC will be derived from revenue generated by the sale of Alabama’s “Take a Kid Fishing” vehicle tag.