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Arizona Springsnails|Are Endangered

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Three Forks springsnail is threatened with extinction by the application of fire retardants across its range in Apache County, Ariz., and should be protected under the Endangered Species Act, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In the early summer of 2004 over 100,000 gallons of fire retardant were aerially sprayed to put out a wild fire in the vicinity of the Three Forks Springs area -the only existing population of the Three Forks species- practically wiping out the entire population of springsnails, according to the agency's proposal to protect the species.

The agency also is proposing to list three populations of another Arizona springsnail species, the San Bernardino, as endangered. The San Bernardino populations are all on private property, where water impoundments to create reservoirs have destroyed two of the three spring sites, according to the agency.

The agency is seeking to acquire the San Bernardino's habitat on the John Slaughter Ranch for incorporation into a designated natural wildlife area.

The agency plans to propose designating 11 acres in Apache County for the Three Forks, and two acres in Cochise County for the San Bernardino springsnail as critical habitat, if the proposed listings become final.

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