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The Tucson Shovel Nosed Snake and the Mexican Garter Snake

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When the housing market begins its recovery and builders look to bring new homes, apartments, schools, roads and commercial buildings forward for a growing population, the folks around Phoenix and Tucson are going to discover that the pause in the housing boom provided environmentalists the opening to push forward two listings of snakes under the Endangered Species Act, and the cost will soar and the probability of success will fall if the most onerous environmental law on the book gets its fangs into Tucson:

It’s the desert scrublands along Interstate 10 and environs in Pinal County lying between Pima and Maricopa counties that the snake finds most hospitable.
Many of the same areas have also been targeted for future growth, particularly thousands of acres of state land near Picacho Peak, Florence and the Apache Junction area.
Pinal County is projected to grow from 313,000 people today to 600,000 by 2015.
The small town of Maricopa, lying within the snake’s home range, is expected to grow from 4,855 people in 2004 to 350,000 by 2025.
One of the biggest areas in which the snake and development could compete is a 275-square-mile spread of state land south of Apache Junction where the State Land Department planned a major development.
Two-thirds of the proposed Superstition Vistas development lies within the snake’s home range, the Fish and Wildlife Service says.

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