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Interrupted Rocksnail Reintroduced to the Coosa River
December 23, 2003
A snail once thought to be extinct was recently reintroduced to the
Jeff Garner, a biologist with the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, had the honor of releasing the snails into the river. “It is very rewarding to be involved in something like this. Most of my career has consisted of monitoring the decline of freshwater snails and mussels, intermingled with pleas for help on their behalf. This is a giant step in the right direction,” said Garner.
The interrupted rocksnail is a “candidate” species, meaning it is on the list for possible protection under the Endangered Species Act. The snail had not been listed previously because it was thought to be extinct. Because this snail lays eggs in February, it was important to release them a few months prior to that date so they could be ready to reproduce in the
One interrupted rocksnail was found in
Once common in the main channel of the
Thirteen years ago, December 20, 1990, Alabama Power Company began releasing at least 2,000 cubic feet per second of water into the
Snails are important to the ecosystem in part because they are at the bottom of the food chain. Snails eat algae and bacteria. Fish, ducks, turtles and other animals use the snails as food. Therefore, if the snails disappear, other species are affected. Snails are also what scientists refer to as “indicator species.” This means that they can provide information about the health of a river, stream, lake, wetland or estuary. Snails are good biological indicators in part because they live in water, are sensitive to changes in water quality and can be easily collected.
“The reintroduction of interrupted rocksnails into the lower
The restoration work will not end with the release of the snails. Scientists will do a follow-up in the spring, and hope to conduct yearly augmentations.
For more information about this project, contact Jeff Garner at 256-767-7673.
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