New York Natural Heritage Program
Watercress Snail
Fontigens nickliniana (I. Lea, 1838)

Threats [-]
Population densities become rapidly attenuated downstream from a spring's underground emergence, suggesting that constant cold temperatures are vital to this snail Dillon et al., 2006). Thus, forest removal and other activities that effect the groundwater table could have negative consequences for population viability. A recent assessment of freshwater Gastropods in North America revealed that 74% of the species are imperiled or already extinct and they have the highest modern extinction rate yet recorded-- almost 10,000 times background rates. The top threats to the group as a whole are: highly restricted ranges (narrow endemics), habitat destruction (hydrological aleration= dams/channelization), and water pollution (Johnson et al., 2013).

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices [-]
Since Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is an exotic invasive plant of European origin, only becoming a member of our flora since the early 1900s, it is unclear what native aquatic macrophytes F. nickliniana might have previously been associated with.

Research Needs [-]
Forested spring runs, especially those having thick mats of Watercress in Niagara and Erie Counties, should be inventoried to ascertain whether this species is still an extant member of New York's Gastropod fauna.