SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA-The U.S. Fish and Wildlife department has designated 26,182 acres in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties as a “critical habitat” for an endangered winged creature.

The move, announced Monday to protect the Bay Checkerspot butterfly, may stall future development initiatives for the property, which lies in the heart of Silicon Valley. If approved next year, the “critical habitat” label would mean developers must prove their projects will not be harmful to the buttefly to gain approval.

Fifteen areas in total would be affected. In San Mateo County, that includes parts of Edgewood County Park, State Fish and Game Refuge lands, and San Bruno Mountain State and Country Park. In Santa Clara County, that includes portions of the east and west foothills as well as Calero County Park. Public hearings on the issue will be held Oct. 30 at the Newark/Fremont Hilton in Newark, CA.

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