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Phoenix Area Office


Desert Tortoise

Several desert tortoise populations in the Southwest are believed to be declining. To minimize impacts on this species, Reclamation biologists and construction inspectors removed tortoises from construction sites, held them in special enclosures, and released them back into the wild as near their original locations as possible after construction was done. The tortoises were examined by a veterinarian before they were released to ensure that no diseases were introduced into the native population.

Radio-tracking studies of this unique desert inhabitant also showed where special barriers needed to be placed at the base of wildlife fences to keep them out of the canal. The tortoises may also use wildlife bridges or other canal-spanning facilities to cross the canal.

Last Reviewed:
June 25, 2009

Joseph J. Billerbeck - jbillerbeck@usbr.gov