Organizations with Expertise on Desert Tortoise Rangewide

Desert Tortoise Council | Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee


The Council was founded in 1975 to assure the continued survival of viable populations of the desert tortoise throughout its range in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. Membership is composed of biologists and managers from Federal and state agencies, research scientists, students, conservationists, experts in husbandry, and the general public. The Council has hosted an annual meeting and symposium since 1976 and also publishes and disseminates proceedings of the symposia. Each year, about 200 people attend to hear over 50 papers, special sessions, and panel discussions on the latest research data and management techniques on such subjects as disease, health, behavior, ecology, general physiology, and management. In recent years the Council has held fall workshops to train biologists and managers about governmental requirements to protect habitat and animals and for surveying tortoise populations and habitat. A newsletter is published quarterly.

The Council serves in a professional advisory manner on matters involving management, conservation, and protection of tortoises. Members often serve on government-sponsored committees and review teams to help resolve problems. The Council also supports programs that ensure the continued survival of wild tortoises. To commend outstanding action and dedication by individuals and organizations fostering objectives of the Council, awards are presented at the annual symposium. For information about joining the Council or attending workshops and symposia, contact:

Desert Tortoise Council
4654 East Avenue S #257B
Palmdale, CA 93552
Web site:


The Committee was founded in 1974 to promote the welfare of the desert tortoise in the southwestern United States and to establish a preserve or Natural Area on the slopes of the western Rand Mountains and adjacent Fremont Valley (eastern Kern County) where the density of tortoises was the highest ever recorded. In 1991 the Committee expanded its land acquisition and stewardship efforts to other parts of the California deserts.

The Committee has been remarkably successful in raising funds to acquire habitat, buy fencing, establish visitor facilities, and provide support for naturalists and critical monitoring projects at the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area. To achieve its goals, members work closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, The Nature Conservancy, some major corporations and developers, the California Turtle and Tortoise Club, and many other groups. A long-term program for land acquisition has been established and thousands of acres of habitat have been acquired. Programs for stewardship, education, and monitoring have functioned productively for several years.

The Committee has land holdings in and adjacent to the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area, at Pilot Knob in the Central Mojave Desert, in Mojave National Preserve, and in the Chuckwalla Bench. Members and volunteers lead tours, develop brochures, maintain nature trails and fencing, and give slide programs to thousands of people annually. A newsletter, Tortoise Tracks, is published quarterly. The corporation holds annual meetings in January.

The Committee and members of its Board of Trustees have been the recipients of numerous local and national awards. For example, Congress identified the Committee as a local, grass-roots organization dedicated to preserving biodiversity. For information, contact:

Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee
4067 Mission Inn Avenue
Riverside, California 92501
(951) 683-3872 (telephone)
(951) 683-6949 (facsimile)
Web site:

back to top of page arrow