Media Inquiries 404-840-0415|dynomuse@aol.com

Sonoran Desert Tortoise Candidate Conservation Agreement

Home/Sonoran Desert Tortoise Candidate Conservation Agreement

Sonoran Desert Tortoise Candidate Conservation Agreement

Good news! Yesterday, Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians, represented by our lawyers at the Western Environmental Law Center, filed a settlement agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to resolve our 2019 action for their illegal decision on the “Not Warranted” list. The new agreement requires the Agency to take a fresh look at the status of the endangered animal in Arizona. In order to meet the licensing requirements set out in Section 10 A (1) (A), the applicant developed and proposed the AEPCO CCAA, which describes the conservation measures adopted by AEPCO to reduce turtle risk, ensure that accidental ingestion does not significantly reduce the likelihood that the species will survive and recover in the wild, and that it benefits sonorial desert turtles and their habitats. The expected benefits include, but are not limited to: the development and provision of staff and contractors, a training and awareness program, as well as annual updates, to avoid and minimize Sonoran desert turtles; Limit the amount of new disturbances within turtles` living space; to inform at an early stage of new outbreaks of buffalo grass to allow buffalo grass management to improve the habitat of Sonoran desert turtles and to accommodate habitat, eggs and female sonoran desert turtles. In addition, through ccaA reporting obligations, the FWS will have additional data on turtle distribution to add to the entire knowledge base of sonortan and desert turtles and use them for species conservation. As the Sonoran Desert Turtle is not listed at the federal level, AEPCO has no legal obligation to implement a conservation program. It is therefore unlikely that these benefits for the turtle will be realized without the CCAA. The USFWS first found in 2010 that the inclusion of the turtle in the ESA was justified, but the measure was excluded by higher priorities. This assessment made the transformation of the agitation of the Sonoran Desert into fire-exposed grasslands a major threat to the species. The decision that the listing was justified was confirmed by the Agency in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

About the Author: