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Tiny snail messenger of water problems to come


More than ten years of fighting and lawsuits have done little (okay, nothing) to protect a tiny Idaho snail from the danger of extinction.

As the Associated Press reports: "A decade ago, the (Bruneau hot springsnails) were at the center of a national battle over federal laws designed to protect endangered species. Today, years after the lawsuits were decided and most of the rhetoric retired, they are closer to extinction than ever before.       The level of the underground geothermal aquifer that feeds the seeps and springs of hot water where the snails live keeps dropping. Rock faces are now dry and bare of the films of the hot water that harbored thousands of the tiny algae-eating snails a few years ago."

Why the problem? Farming uses so much more water now than it did ten years ago, the Idaho water levels continue to drop, even after expensive upgrades that mean individual farms use less water.

At this rate, even some local farmers wonder how long it will be until the water runs out, at which time, both the snails and the local agriculture may both go extinct.

Read more: Tiny Idaho Snail Facing Extinction.