Arizona Game and FIsh Department - Managing Today for Wildlife Tomorrow: Arizona Game and Fish Department

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Arizona Interagency Desert Tortoise Team

Desert tortoise with swollen glandsThe Arizona Interagency Desert Tortoise Team (AIDTT) consists of biologists and managers assigned to the Team by the following agencies (alphabetically): Arizona Game and Fish Department; Arizona State Land Department; United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service; United States Department of Defense Luke Air Force Base, Marine Corp Air Station, and Yuma Proving Ground; and United States Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fish and Wildlife Service, Geological Survey, and National Park Service. In accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding, finalized in 1995 and signed by the above agencies, the Team serves as a forum to discuss desert tortoise issues, with a specific objective to conduct and coordinate research and management efforts. This interagency cooperation is intended to: (1) ensure the perpetuation of the species and (2) prevent loss and improve quality of habitat in Arizona. Many additional non-signatory agencies have also contributed to AIDTT over the years.

In 1996 the AIDTT crafted a management plan for the Sonoran population of desert tortoises in Arizona. The 1996 plan included management recommendations and options, but listed no goals and objectives nor agency commitments.

A status report for the Sonoran desert tortoise was written in 2000 stating that populations were stable with a few isolated declines, but many threats were looming including human population growth, habitat fragmentation and disease.
- Status Report

Since 1996, implementation of the management plan has been spotty at best. In 2002 the AIDTTshifted its focus towards the construction of a proactive State Conservation Agreement (SCA) to maintain viable populations, and preserve habitat of the Sonoran desert tortoise throughout its range in Arizona. In 2014, the SCA morphed into a Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) and includes goals and objectives that address threats at both a species and habitat level, with agency commitments towards meeting those goals and objectives. Stay tuned to the AIDTT web site for the final draft of the CCA.

Other AIDTT Products:
- Mitigation Measures for Desert Tortoises [PDF, 25kb]
- Plot Protocol [PDF, 280kb]
Desert Tortoise Downloads
NOTE: The following files are PDFs and require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.For text-only, use Adobe Access.
- Upper Respiratory Tract Disease in Sonoran Desert Tortoises
- Sonoran Desert Tortoise Population Monitoring
- Desert Tortoise Monitoring and Ecology
- Impacts of Urbanization on Desert Tortoises in Saguaro National Park
AZGFD Turtle Pages x
- Turtle Conservation and Management
- Captive desert tortoise care
- What to do if you encounter a tortoise
- Ornate box turtles
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Related AZGFD Links line
- Heritage Fund
- State Wildlife Grants
- Arizona Reptile and Amphibian Regulations
- Wildlife Center
- Wildlife News
- Watchable Wildlife
- Nongame Species Management
- Living With Venomous Reptiles
- Sign up for AZGFD eNews
External Links
- Desert Tortoise Council
- Phoenix Herpetological Society
- California Turtle and Tortoise Club
- Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC)
- Southwest PARC
- Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group
- Turtle Survival Alliance
- NatureServe

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