More recently, the significance of the area’s ecology was confirmed by the fact that a Driftless Area National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1989 to protect the federally endangered Iowa Pleistocene snail and threatened northern monkshood plant. Habitats that support these species are also home to other glacial-relict snail and plant species that require specific cool moist conditions to live. These species occur only on algific talus slopes or moist sandstone cliffs. In these fragile places, constant cold air exiting from a cliff or talus slope creates a unique microclimate, one that may be considerably different from areas only meters away. The ultimate goal is recovery and removal of both species from the Federal list of endangered and threatened species.

Leave a Reply