News Release

For Release:  February 4, 2009                                                          
Contact:  David Briery, 951.697.5220; e-mail:

BLM Seeks Public Comments on Desert Tortoise Translocation near Fort Irwin

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), together with the U.S. Army's Fort Irwin National Training Center, today announced a 15-day scoping period to gather public comments on what issues should be addressed in a translocation plan and associated environmental assessment (EA) being prepared regarding removal of desert tortoises from the Army's active training area to nearby public and private lands.

Public scoping comments must be submitted to BLM no later than February 18, 2009. The scoping comments will be incorporated into an EA analyzing the impacts of the Desert Tortoise translocation plan being developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in a scientific advisory role, in association with a conservation and mitigation working group composed of California Department of Fish and Game, BLM, U.S. Army, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The Desert Tortoise translocation plan is a mitigation requirement of the Fort Irwin expansion legislative environmental impact statement, signed on March 3, 2005.

BLM expects to publish an EA for public review and comment in early March.  A final decision is expected later in the spring, generally the optimum time for tortoise relocation. 

Mickey Quillman, BLM's Barstow Field Office resources branch chief, said public scoping comments will hopefully give BLM and the inter-agency team suggestions on how best to conduct translocation, including where, when, and how, as well as the benefits or problems associated with translocation.  Scoping comments should be in writing and addressed to BLM Barstow Field Office, Attention: Mickey Quillman, 2601 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311; faxed to 760.252.6099; or e-mailed to

BLM and its interagency partners will use that public information, together with existing scientific data and experience gained in a previous translocation effort conducted by USGS under a research permit last year, to develop the translocation plan and EA.  The translocation plan under development will be designed for a broader, more long-term management approach, Quillman said.


California Desert District Office – 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553- (951) 697-5217