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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Lawsuit seeks protection for imperiled Arkansas mudalia snails

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Thursday, April 25, 2024   

An environmental group is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Arkansas mudalia snail under the Endangered Species Act.

In Arkansas and Missouri, including along the North Fork River, mudalia are critically endangered freshwater snails.

Trisha Sharma, legal fellow at the Center for Biological Diversity, emphasized the need to save the snail from vanishing entirely. She said freshwater mollusks are the most endangered group of animals in North America, and snails are the most endangered mollusks.

"We've already lost more than 70 species of freshwater snails," Sharma pointed out. "The Endangered Species Act has a very high success rate. So if we can get it listed and protected under the ESA, it's highly likely that the species will survive and be able to continue playing its important role in the ecosystems where it's found."

Sharma noted areas where the Arkansas mudalia can be found have decreased by 90% and the main threat to the species is habitat degradation, primarily from dam construction and operation along the rivers.

Sharma emphasized mudalia is also threatened by habitat loss from grazing, logging and mining. She added climate change is also expected to threaten the species.

"Part of what can make a species more resilient to climate impacts is its ability to disperse as its habitat becomes unsuitable, and to essentially relocate to areas where it can survive," Sharma explained. "But snails have a pretty narrow set of habitat requirements and very limited dispersal capabilities."

Sharma said freshwater snails play a crucial role in managing nutrients by consuming detritus and plant matter, preventing their decay and subsequent disruption of water quality, and snails are vital for food webs, converting unusable food sources into usable ones for birds and turtles.


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