Why Work Here?The Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee, Inc. (DTPC) was founded in 1974 to a) promote the welfare of the California State Reptile, Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in its native wild state in the southwestern United States; b) establish and assist in establishment of preserves for the desert tortoise in its natural habitats and ecosystems; c) provide information, education, and research regarding ecosystems critical to the desert tortoise and to associated animal and plant species that may be included in these ecosystems; d) develop and implement management programs for preserves, including other land associated with any preserve, to protect the desert tortoise and the biodiversity of its native, wild ecosystems; and e) foster and to publicize the uses for these preserves for selected forms of recreation, for education, for conservation, and for research. Working with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (USBLM) and other partners, the DTPC helped established the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area (DTRNA), an approximately 40-square mile area of protected habitat for the desert tortoise in the western Mojave Desert, Kern County, California. The DTPC has continued working with the USBLM, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and others, to acquire private lands within and adjacent to the DTRNA, and to manage the protected habitat. While the primary focus of the DTPC has been the conservation of the desert tortoise, the organization has expanded its habitat acquisition and management efforts to protect plant and animal species that occur within the natural ecosystems of the tortoise. Since 1990, the DTPC has acquired and managed habitat for the conservation of Mohave ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus mohavensis) and burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), Harwood’s milk vetch (Astragalus insularis var. harwoodii) and to preserve desert washes. The DTPC sponsors on-going research efforts on various wildlife species and plant communities inside and outside the DTRNA, as well as evaluations of the effectiveness of conservation measures, such as protective fencing and habitat restoration. The DTPC also conducts educational programs, including co-sponsoring a Naturalist at the DTRNA during the spring visitation season, outreach presentations and events throughout southern California, and the creation and installation of multi-media educational displays at desert access areas. Currently, the preserves and land managed by the DTPC are located in the Mojave Desert, Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area, eastern Kern County; between Cuddeback Dry Lake and the Naval Air Weapons Station (formerly Naval Weapons Center, China Lake), San Bernardino County; and the eastern Colorado Desert, Chuckwalla Bench, south of I-10 in Riverside County. In recognition of its commitment to environmental conservation, the DTPC has been honored with the Chevron Conservation Award in 1986 and a commendation from the U.S. Department of Interior in 1988 for 10 years of cooperative efforts to benefit the desert tortoise. More recently, the DTPC received the 1996 Annual Award from the Desert Tortoise Council and was presented in 1999-2000 with a Conservation Partner of the Year Award by the Director of the USBLM. In 2003 the DTPC was named Conservation Partner of the Year by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service.
Accomplish the seemingly impossible: help reverse the decline of the desert tortoise and other California desert species.
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