Species Profile

Black Hills Mountainsnail

Scientific Name: Oreohelix cooperi
Taxonomy Group: Molluscs
COSEWIC Range: Alberta, Saskatchewan
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2021
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: Globally, this small (shell width about 1 cm) land snail is confined to four mountainous “sky islands” on the Great Plains of North America. In Canada, it occurs only in the Cypress Hills of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Known from this area since 1905, albeit under a different name, this species occurs on ridges, hilltops, cliffs, and slopes at or near the sand, silt, cobbles, and conglomerates of the Cypress Hills Formation. The snails are patchily distributed within these habitats. It is absent from the gently sloping southern exposure of the Cypress Hills and seldom occurs in the valley bottoms. This slow-moving species is susceptible to catastrophic wildfire, exacerbated by a build-up of fuels from fire suppression over the past century and drought associated with climate change. Introduced species, including ground-foraging Wild Turkey and a parasite, are a growing concern.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in May 2021.
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd):

No schedule - No Status

Individuals of this species may be protected under Schedule 1 under another name; for more information see Schedule 1, the A-Z Species List, or if applicable, the Related Species table below.

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Protection

Federal Protection

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

4 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Black Hills Mountainsnail Oreohelix cooperi in Canada (2022-01-14)

    Black Hills Mountainsnail is one of three species of its genus (Oreohelix) occurring in the Cypress Hills. It is clearly distinguished from the others within the genus by its smaller size and genetics. The shell of this species is about 1 cm in diameter, opaque, greyish-white or brown, and usually has one or two brown spiral bands, although sometimes bands are absent. The shell surface has irregular incremental wrinkles and striae. Very young snails have a flattened, keeled shell with coarse sculpture and scaly ridges. Note: This COSEWIC assessment was received by the Minister on October 12, 2021.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Black Hills Mountainsnail (2022-01-10)

    Globally, this small (shell width about 1 cm) land snail is confined to four mountainous “sky islands” on the Great Plains of North America. In Canada, it occurs only in the Cypress Hills of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Known from this area since 1905, albeit under a different name, this species occurs on ridges, hilltops, cliffs, and slopes at or near the sand, silt, cobbles, and conglomerates of the Cypress Hills Formation. The snails are patchily distributed within these habitats. It is absent from the gently sloping southern exposure of the Cypress Hills and seldom occurs in the valley bottoms. This slow-moving species is susceptible to catastrophic wildfire, exacerbated by a build-up of fuels from fire suppression over the past century and drought associated with climate change. Introduced species, including ground-foraging Wild Turkey and a parasite, are a growing concern.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report 2020 to 2021 (2021-10-12)

    Over the past year COSEWIC assessed a total of 66 wildlife species, of which 4 were assigned a status of Not at Risk. Of these 66, COSEWIC re-examined the status of 41 wildlife species; of these, 80% were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 826 wildlife species in various risk categories including 369 Endangered, 196 Threatened, 239 Special Concern, and 22 Extirpated (i.e. no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition, 19 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct, 62 wildlife species have been designated as Data Deficient, and 202 have been assessed as Not at Risk.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species January 2022 (2022-01-10)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection afforded by the prohibitions and from recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 640 wildlife species at risk. Please submit your comments by May 10, 2022, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 10, 2022, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please visit the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry website at: The Minister of the Environment's Response to Species at Risk Assessments.
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