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Southern Nevada District Office
Release Date: 02/07/13
Contacts: Kirsten Cannon , 702-515-5057 ,

BLM Announces Desert Tortoise Translocation Environmental Assessment

Las Vegas – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Southern Nevada and Ely Districts announce the availability of the environmental assessment (EA) addressing translocation of desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) from the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center to 17 wilderness areas, five wilderness study areas and other non-wilderness lands within the districts. 

Translocation includes the moving of tortoises from the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center into natural populations. This action will augment and assist recovering desert tortoise populations and will provide monitoring and research opportunities.

The BLM accepted public comments from August 14 to October 31, 2012. Major comments included (1) not having enough information on the translocation process, (2) impacts to wilderness characteristics, (3) concerns about restricting existing uses, and (4) impacts to tortoises (e.g., health, genetics, habitat, etc.)

The EA specifically evaluates Trout Canyon as the first site to implement translocation, which will begin this spring. Future desert tortoise translocation proposals will be tiered off of this EA. New proposed recipient sites will be analyzed and a site specific desert tortoise translocation plan will be attached, which will be available for a 30-day public review. Afterward, a separate decision record will be issued with a 30-day appeal period. 

Translocation will be conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

To view the EA, please visit

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.

Last updated: 02-07-2013