Land may be listed as vital blue butterfly habitat

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Updated: 7/15/2014 1:58 pm

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hopes to designate about 5,600 acres on southern Nevada's Mount Charleston as critical habitat for an endangered blue butterfly.

Officials say the proposed area is about 99 percent federally owned land and is mostly within a designated wilderness. A 60-day public comment period on the proposal opened on Tuesday.

The delicate gray and baby blue insect was classified as endangered in October 2013 amid concerns that its habitat was being harmed by fires, fire suppression efforts and development.

The proposed habitat area contains host and nectar plants, as well as open areas that federal officials say is vital to the butterfly's survival.

Fish and Wildlife Service authorities say the designation wouldn't halt development, but could add extra scrutiny for projects in the area.

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