The Oro Valley Town Council last Wednesday unanimously endorsed a sweeping county environmental protection plan.

A major aspect of the science-based Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan is a Conservation Land System map that outlines habitat protection guidelines.

County officials, scientists, environmental activists and citizen volunteers spent years devising the plan.

With Oro Valley’s endorsement of the document, the plan’s philosophy would become a crucial factor in the town’s growth, including plans to annex the state trust land to the north known as Arroyo Grande.

Conservationists have identified that section of desert as a critical wildlife corridor connecting the Tortolita Mountains with the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Also, several species of various protected status are known to inhabit the area, including the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl, Chiricahua leopard frog and Sonoran desert tortoise.

While the council action was to endorse the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, council members did direct town planning and zoning staffers to begin work on incorporating the document into town code.

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