February 23, 2014

Joint Effort Improves Desert Tortoise Research At Mojave National Preserve

National Parks Traveler

Desert tortoise research, and the researchers, at Mojave National Preserve in California have gotten a boost from Chevron Corp. and the National Park Trust.

The Trust acted as an intermediary in a deal that had Chevron build the Ivanpah Desert Tortoise Research Facility and transfer it to the National Park Service at Mojave.

Located on seven acres adjacent to the Preserve, the solar-powered facility and its outdoor dens are used to hatch, study and protect the threatened desert tortoise, according to a Trust release.

"The facility was constructed in 2011, but the National Park Service could not take ownership until extensive due diligence — and a boundary adjustment to the Preserve — were all completed," the release added. "But that delay risked two generations (cohorts) of desert tortoises that could otherwise be hatched and released at the facility. Officials at Mojave National Preserve asked if (the Trust) could help. In response, (the Trust) reached an agreement with Chevron that would allow the Trust to manage the facility as interim steward while researchers from the University of California, Davis and the Savannah River Ecology Lab (GA) conducted their research."

Chevron also has donated funds to NPT that are being used to fund tortoise research at the facility over several years.

“We are indebted to the National Park Trust for enabling this complex transaction. Without their help we would have been unable to accept the facility or maintain the research being conducted there. We look forward to working with the Trust in the future on desert tortoise recovery and our many other mutual interests,” said Preserve Superintendent Stephanie Dubois.

A formal dedication of this facility is planned by the NPS in early September.