The Bureau of Land Management Releases a Record of Decision on Tortoise Relocation onto Public Lands


A desert tortoise walks around.  (Dana Wilson/BLM)MORENO VALLEY, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today released a Record of Decision for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement authorizing the translocation of more than 1,500 desert tortoises from military training areas near the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms to four pre-determined sites on BLM-managed lands in San Bernardino County. This decision supports a joint effort with Department of Defense (DOD) to support the expansion of military training activities as authorized in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

The DOD, along with the BLM serving as a Cooperating Agency, prepared a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the environmental impacts of translocating desert tortoises. The draft Supplemental EIS was released to the public on September 30, 2016. The final Supplemental EIS was released to the public on January 6, 2017. On January 31, 2017, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issued a Biological Opinion (BO) for the project that covered actions on DOD and BLM-managed lands. 

In addition, authorization is given for desert tortoise habitat improvements, including the installation of fencing and signs and rehabilitation of unauthorized routes on BLM-managed lands, an action necessary to support the expansion of military training activities at the military base.

The acceptance of desert tortoises onto BLM-managed lands is subject to a 30-day appeal period commencing with the release of the record of decision. The Supplemental EIS along with translocation maps may be viewed at: http://seisforlaa.com/Documents.aspx.

Instructions for filing an appeal on the BLM decision record can be found at: http://bit.ly/2kUdlfQ

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 sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Release Date

Thursday, February 9, 2017


Bureau of Land Management, California


California Desert District Office


Stephen Razo