- The Driftless Area NWR was established to protect the endangered Iowa Pleistocene snail and the threatened northern monkshood plant. These habitats are also home to eight candidate snails and the federally threatened Leedy's roseroot plant.
These species generally occur only on algific talus slopes. On these slopes, constant cold air and/or cold groundwater exiting from a cliff or talus slope creates an unique microclimate, one that may be considerably different from areas only meters away.
The "driftless area" derives its name from the fact that it has not been recently glaciated. Presently, 34 sites have been prioritized for acquisition. Acquisition will be by donation, exchange, permanent easement or fee title. When the proposed acquisition is completed, at least 70 percent of the known norhtern monkshood population and 75 percent of the known population of the Iowa Pleistocene snail will be protected. The ultimate goal for recovery will be the removal of both species from Federal list of endangered and threatened species.