FIRTH The demolition of a Snake River bridge may kill
some endangered Utah Valvata snails, but not enough to cause
their extinction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concludes.
The Idaho Department of Transportation halted removal of
the old bridge in October to evaluate the project´s
impact on the mollusk.
The tiny snail was not believed to exist along the river
north of American Falls, but discoveries in the last year
have indicated otherwise.
The Army Corps of Engineers still needs to review the biological
opinion before approving a federal permit that will allow
the job to continue.
Transportation environmental planner Denise Stark expects
it to take one to two weeks to get the permit.
Joe Cannon, the contractor, said spring´s higher water
levels may delay work until the summer.
We need to resolve that as soon as we can, said
David Babbitt, director of the Bingham County public works
The Utah Valvata snail is one of five endangered mollusk
species downstream in the King Hill area that have pitted
environmentalists against agricultural interests for years.
Agricultural groups are concerned the federal listing could
impact the delivery of irrigation water to farmers and ranchers.