Federal wildlife agency sued over protections for rare Florida snail with limited habitat

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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is being sued for allegedly failing to protect a rare Florida snail under the Endangered Species Act.

Center for Biological Diversity attorney Jacki Lopez says the Ichetucknee siltsnail "may not be the most charismatic animal," but its decline serves as an indicator of poor health for a spring along the Ichetucknee River in north Florida.

The tiny freshwater snail also is known as the sand grain snail.

The center sued the wildlife service Tuesday in federal court in Washington, D.C. According to the lawsuit, the snail's limited habitat in 10 square yards of submerged mosses and cypress roots is threatened by upstream pollution and groundwater pumping.

Florida-based wildlife service spokesman Jeff Fleming said the agency is reviewing hundreds of species — including the snails — for protection.

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