As you may know, the Sonoran Desert Tortoise (SDT; Gopherus morafkai), is currently a Candidate species under the Endangered Species Act, and its status is scheduled to be re-examined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) by September 2015. The Winkelman Natural Resource Conservation District (NRCD) in partnership with the Arizona NRCD, Bureau of Land Management, FWS, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists has developed a Best Management Practices document for grazing in SDT habitat. The document recommends implementation of conservation measures for SDT on livestock ranches in Arizona. This is a collaborative and cooperative effort among individual ranchers, resource agencies, and governments and fosters cooperation and exchange of information, identifies appropriate conservation efforts, and voluntarily reduces potential threats and therefore improves the species status. The Winkelman NRCD believes that this document will be beneficial for the sustainability of the ranching industry in tortoise habitat, and will be considered by the FWS in their decision to withdraw or propose to list the SDT. If the FWS decision ultimately is to list the species, this document can be used in a 4D Rule for livestock grazing; however, this only applies if the species is listed as threatened and not as endangered.
To ensure we seek adequate peer review of this document before publishing it as both a technical report and a scientific paper, you are invited to review and comment on the draft document. A link to the draft document is available in MS Word at https://wnrcd.org/tortoise/ . Please use track changes, and provide your comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via U.S. mail addressed to Winkelman NRCD, PO Box 68, Mammoth, AZ 85618 by October 31, 2014. Feel free to share this link with other interested parties; we will evaluate all comments and make any needed changes prior to publication.
Please keep in mind this is not an agency document, it is a document of the Winkelman NRCD.
Bill Dunn, Chairman