Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Desert Tortoise Recovery

Recovery Office

The Desert Tortoise Recovery Office (DTRO) based at the Service's Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office in Reno, Nevada, was established to address population declines and focus on recovery of the Mojave desert tortoise which occurs north and west of the Colorado River in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. The establishment of the DTRO is the result of strategies arising from the General Accounting Office's December 2002 audit of recovery actions for the Desert Tortoise (external link) and the October 2004 Desert Tortoise Recovery Plan Assessment (8.5 MB PDF) .

The DTRO focuses exclusively on research, monitoring, recovery plan implementation, and associated recovery permitting, rather than on regulation, and provides a centralized point of contact through which these activities are coordinated. The DTRO strives to facilitate increased scientific understanding and improved recovery progress by increasing research activities outlined in the 2011 Revised Recovery Plan (5.7 MB PDF).

The DTRO assists in the coordination between managers and research scientists, and tracking and reporting new information about the efficacy of management actions. The DTRO works with the Desert Tortoise Management Oversight Group in coordinating range-wide issues and works with the California Desert Managers Group and other local, state, or regional working groups.



  • Provide more effective and coordinated research, recovery, and monitoring activities.
  • Provide a sound and defensible technical basis for decision-making.
  • Assess the short- and long-term benefits of recovery actions.
  • Provide information and synthesis in a timely manner and useful format.
  • Facilitate communication of progress toward, and maintain an open dialogue regarding, desert tortoise recovery goals.
  • Provide greater credibility and support for desert tortoise recovery efforts.


  • Provide staff support to land and resource management agencies and stakeholders to implement desert tortoise recovery actions range-wide.
  • Advise, conduct, coordinate, and prioritize research, including the administration of recovery permits.
  • Develop new techniques for monitoring desert tortoises, their habitat, and threats.
  • Recommend management actions based upon the best available science.
  • Empanel and coordinate committees, work groups, or other advisory bodies, as needed.
  • Inform policy and regulatory processes through recovery recommendations and plan reviews.
  • Develop a budget to support the Office and its objectives.
  • Provide a single point of contact for managers, policymakers, and stakeholders with scientific needs and issues.
  • Provide feedback to resource managers, policymakers, and stakeholders, including quarterly reports and scientific synthesis documents.

    Staff Publications

    Last updated: March 17, 2015