Feds designate critical habitat for narrow-headed garter snake in Arizona
PHOENIX — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday designated critical habitat in Arizona to help protect the narrow-headed garter snake.
Approximately 23,785 acres are being designated across Greenlee, Apache, Yavapai, Gila and Coconino counties plus parts of New Mexico, according to a press release.
The narrow-headed garter snake was deemed threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2014.
This is primarily due to non-native predators introduced to the area like warm water sportfish, according to the release.
Drought and large-scale wildfires have also hurt the population which relies on aquatic areas to survive.
Critical habitat designations do not establish preserves or prevent development on private land.
They identify areas that are vital to the conservation of a species then regulate federal agencies and activities to prevent adverse modifications to that habitat, according to USFWS.
Private projects will not be affected unless they require federal funding.
The USFWS will work with Arizona Game and Fish Department to address the snake’s threats and act to conserve the species, according to the release.