By Gary Bogue
Friday, January 8th, 2010 at 6:57 am in Desert Tortoises.
Here’s an update on the California desert tortoise and its seemingly never-ending battle to survive, from the Jan. 7, 2010, weekly e-newsletter of the Center for Biological Diversity:
Last week a judge overturned a decision to open two off-road vehicle routes imperiling threatened desert tortoises in California’s Mojave Desert.
The routes, planned for a site of critical environmental concern directly abutting the Desert Tortoise Natural Area, had been closed in 2002 to protect the tortoise — but in 2008 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management decided it would be OK to reopen both routes if it introduced an off-road education and permit program that in fact provided no education and tracked no permits.
Now the Bureau must close the routes again and go back to the drawing board on off-road planning for the area.
The Center for Biological Diversity has been working to protect desert tortoises since the 1990s. They have helped save the species from numerous off-road threats and millions of acres of cattle grazing, as well as recently halting a disastrous plan to relocate 1,000-plus tortoises to inferior habitat, killing hundreds of them in the process.