environmental history  

introduction geography geology cultures ecosystem conservation  

Project goal:  Help sustain the natural resources and protect cultural resources of the Driftless Area.

Driftless Area


Others have recognized the beauty of the Driftless Area and potential biological "seed" area for mollusks and land snails.  Imlay (1973) promoted protection of the region as a national, state, and/or park system in the early 1970s.    
In 1976, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Iowa Pleistocene snail along with a number of land snails from around the country as endangered (Federal Register Volume 41 Number 83 page 17742).  The Iowa Pleistocene snail was only known from one location at that time.  Surveys since the listing as endangered were able to locate more algific slopes supporting the species.  A major threat at the time of listing during the mid 1970's was the use of herbicides to defoliate forests to clear the land for cattle pasture use.       

There are several aspects of the Driftless Area that satisfy definitions of mixed sites (cultural and nature), cultural landscapes, natural features, geological formations as described in the articles of the World Heritage Convention.  The nomination proposal for inscription into the Convention must meet at least one of the ten criteria outlined below.  The Driftless Area meets many of the ten criteria.  Outlined below are my initial comments on the inscription criteria follow each of the Convention ten criteria.

Selection criteria:

1. ...to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;

     Effigy Mounds National Monument.
2. to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;

3. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;

      Pre-settlement and settlement era lead and zinc mining district along with the
      growth of boom towns.

4. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;

      Midwestern human prehistory and history.

5. to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;

     Environment influenced human culture and settlement patterns
     over the past 13,000 years (including Hypsithermal and Little Ice Age)
     for PaleoIndians, Archaic peoples, Woodland peoples, miners,

6.to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);

7. to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;

     Algific talus slopes in the temperate zone.

8. to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;

     Driftless Paleozoic plateau with karst topography.

9. to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;

      The biogeography of species after the Pleistocene Ice Age.

10. to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

     Conservation of imperiled glacial relict land snail and disjunct and
     cryptic boreal plant species.

Imlay, M.J. 1973. A case for protecting the Driftless Area of the Upper
     Midwest. Malacological Review, 6(1):64-65.

Format for nomination proposal


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