County Approves Purchase of Land for Desert Reserve

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- The Washington County Commission has approved purchase of an additional 101 acres for protection of the desert tortoise and other plant and animal species.

The committee that operates the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve under a habitat conservation plan is to buy the land, which is surrounded by the reserve south of Leeds, from Great Western Star.

Federal money will be used for the purchase, Commissioner Alan Gardner said Tuesday.

Lori Rose, a biologist for the reserve, said the land deal should close within a few weeks.

The sale price has not been disclosed.

The commission also approved a resolution for a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Land Management to enhance and create trails within the reserve.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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