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Master of Environmental Science and Management: Master's Group Project

A Framework for Restoration to Support Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise Recovery in the Western Mojave Desert

Desert tortoise

Group Members: Dannique Aalbu, Erik Martinez, Amber Reedy, Devin Rothman

Faculty Advisors: Bruce Kendall, Ben Halpern

Client: Desert Tortoise Council


Final Report


Despite the desert tortoise's protected status, their populations are declining over much of their home range. Operation Desert Tortoise is a project based out of the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Its objective is to promote effective habitat restoration in the Western Mojave Desert to benefit the Agassiz’s desert tortoise. The project focuses on developing a framework for restoration which includes: a guidance document for employing strategic restoration, a site-specific restoration plan to act as a case study for restoration, and an assessment tool to help manager's assess a site's potential for restoration. It is our hope, that by using this framework, managers can increase the effectiveness of their restoration efforts, ultimately increasing populations and creating a success story for the Agassiz's desert tortoise.

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