The Conservancy’s biological monitoring contractors discovered the first giant garter snake (GGS) on the Conservancy’s Cummings tract preserve the week of May 8, 2006. The Cummings tract lies in the Conservancy’s Fisherman’s Lake Reserve Area, and the newly constructed managed marsh on the site wasn’t expected to see colonization by GGS for at least three year, perhaps five.
The discovery of this snake justifies recent efforts to provide expanded or substitute habitat for GGS in the Fisherman’s Lake Reserve Area. Concerned with deteriorating conditions for wildlife in the area, the Conservancy has expedited construction of managed marsh projects there. Earlier discoveries of GGS in the nearby Natomas Farms managed marsh proved that GGS could make their way from Fisherman’s Lake onto the preserves. Both the Natomas Farms and Cummings tract managed marsh complexes are secured from disturbance, affording the snakes refuge from rapidly advancing urbanization taking place in the neighborhood. It is hoped that the scientific approach employed in the design and construction of the Cummings and other Fisherman’s Lake Reserve Area managed marsh complexes will not only provide sanctuary for the GGS, but expand opportunities for them. A healthier and safer habitat is seen as the best way to accomplish this goal.
The Cummings tract GGS did not have a PIT embedded in it, so the individual is definitely a new find, and not one already identified elsewhere or at another time.