Desert Tortoise Recovery Through Head-Starting


SCH Number
Public Agency
California Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB)
Document Title
Desert Tortoise Recovery Through Head-Starting
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The primary goals and objectives of the project are (1) to release head-started desert tortoises at sites on protected federal land identified for population augmentation (“implementation sites”) to increase tortoise populations in the short-term and increase the viability of populations for growth and continued recruitment of individuals over the long-term, and (2) to evaluate the effectiveness of these actions at implementation sites relative to a control site where ongoing research and additional releases of head-started tortoises can provide a strong baseline for comparison. It is expected that 25–50 tortoises will be released at appropriate sites annually for the duration of the project. Post release monitoring will allow researchers to quantify the expected outcomes of (1) survival and growth of head-started tortoises in the wild and (2) the suitability of habitat at implementation sites where population augmentation can have a significant, positive impact on recovery of the species and its habitat, and the resilience of populations to climate change. The expected benefits of the project are that at least one or more specific sites (control and implementation sites) on protected federal land will have improved population size and viability of desert tortoises with resulting increased resilience to climate change and other stressors. WCB Project ID 2024004

Contact Information

Rebecca J. Fris
Agency Name
Wildlife Conservation Board
Job Title
Deputy Executive Director
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Near Baker, CA
San Bernardino
Southern California
Other Location Info
Mojave National Preserve - Ivanpah Valley Critical Habitat Unit (Lat: 35.4000 and Long: -115.4120)

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Categorical Exemption
Type, Section or Code
15306 Information Collection, 15301 Existing Facilities, and 15304 Minor Alterations to Land
Reasons for Exemption
The implementation of a recovery action consists of basic data collection and research which will not result in a serious or major disturbance to an environmental resource or topographical feature.
County Clerk
San Bernardino


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