The 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.
Sonoran Desert Tortoise Management Plan
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.
Since 1996, implementation of the management
plan has been spotty at best. In 2002 the
AIDTT reshifted 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. The SCA will
include goals and objectives addressing 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 public meeting announcements and
working drafts of the SCA.