15 May '11, 8am
Threatened Tortoises Slow Down Desert Solar Project
California desert tortoises, normally living to be 80-100 years old, have well-established home ranges with food, water and mineral resources. But disease, predators and loss of hospitable habitat have caused up to a 90% decline since the 1980s. When the US Army moved 650 tortoises in 2008, 90 died. The Center for Biological Diversity and Desert Survivors sued the Army, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management for violating the Endangered Species Act. With the suspension on construction of the Ivanpah solor complex , the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will further investigate its construction's effect on tortoises and determine whether finishing the project puts the species at risk. If not, the agency will set limits on how many may be killed or injured. Alternative plans could try to locate another appropriate tortoise habitat.