The US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed designating most of the clear, year-round streams in Rim Country and the White Mountains as critical habitat for either the narrow-headed garter snake or the closely related northern Mexican garter snake.

The designation would require federal agencies to consider how permits for mining, timber harvesting grazing or other federal actions would affect those streams and the snakes they likely contain.

Peter Aleshire covers county government and other topics for the Independent. He is the former editor of the Payson Roundup. Reach him at

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