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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

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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