Department of Fish and Wildlife
STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Notification of Status Review for Mojave Desert Tortoise Under the California Endangered Species Act


To Whom It May Concern:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) has initiated a status
review for the Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), pursuant to Fish and Game
Code section 2074.6, and is providing this notice pursuant to Fish and Game Code
section 2074.4 to solicit data and comments on the petitioned action from interested and
affected parties.

The Department has initiated this status review following the Fish and Game
Commission’s (Commission) decision at its October 14, 2020 meeting to accept for
consideration the petition to up-list the species from threatened to endangered under
the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Having provided public notice (Cal.
Reg. Notice Reg. 2020, No. 44-Z, p. 1445; Fish & G. Code, § 2074.2), the Mojave
desert tortoise is a candidate species under CESA, and as such, retains the same legal
protection afforded to an endangered or threatened species (Fish & G. Code, §§ 2074.2
& 2085). The listing petition and the Department’s petition evaluation report are
available at: https://fgc.ca.gov/CESA#adt

Take (hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill, or attempt to do so) of the Mojave desert
tortoise remains prohibited (Fish & Game Code § 86). However, Incidental Take may be
authorized with appropriate permits (Fish & G. Code §§ 2081(b), 2080.1, 2089.2 et.
seq., 2086). Activities conducted for scientific, educational, or management purposes
including research and restoration, which may result in take of this species, can be
authorized through permits or memorandums of understanding (Fish & G. Code §
2081(a)). For more information on take authorizations, visit
https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/CESA/Permitting or contact your regional
Department office.

The Department requests any data or comments on the species’ ecology, genetics, life
history, distribution, abundance, habitat, the degree and immediacy of threats to its
reproduction or survival, the adequacy of existing management, and recommendations
for management of the species. Please provide such data or comments to the Department contact via email: Anne.Hilborn@wildlife.ca.gov, and include “Mojave
desert tortoise” in the subject line. Comments may also be submitted by mail addressed
to “Attn: Anne Hilborn” at the address in the letterhead.

The Department has 12 months to review the petition, evaluate the available
information, and report back to the Commission whether the petitioned action is
warranted (Fish & G. Code, § 2074.6). The written report will indicate, based on the best
scientific information available, whether the Department concludes the petitioned action
is warranted or not warranted. The Commission will place receipt of the report on the
agenda for the next available Commission meeting after delivery. The report will be
made available to the public at that meeting. Following receipt of the Department’s
report, the Commission will allow a 30-day public comment period prior to taking any
action on the Department’s recommendation.

The Department respectfully requests your responses and information before June
25th, 2022, to allow sufficient time to evaluate the information for possible incorporation
in the Department’s final status review report to the Commission.

If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact the Department via
email at: Anne.Hilborn@wildlife.ca.gov.

Dates
The Department respectfully requests your responses and information before June 25th, 2022, to allow sufficient time to evaluate the information for possible incorporation in the Department’s final status review report to the Commission.
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