PORTLAND -- Federal wildlife officials announced Tuesday they'll spend a year studying whether more than two dozen kinds of western slugs and snails need protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The 26 species include the Columbia dusky snail, the evening fieldslug and three kinds of pebblesnail from Klamath Falls.

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"I mean the diminutive pebblesnail? I love 'em," laughed Ann Forest-Burns.

Forest-Burns represents the timber industry group American Forest Resource Council. She says she's glad the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is settling the question of whether the rare snails and slugs warrant protection. But Forest Burns is worried about possible effects on logging if forest-dependent snails are labeled "threatened."

"Everything deserves to have its place. The problem is when we don't know what to do about its place and how to help it," Forest-Burns said.

The decision responds to litigation from the Center for Biological Diversity. The environmental group sued the federal government to force a look at hundreds of potentially threatened species.

(This was first reported for opbnews.org.)


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