Projects and Research

The Carlsbad and Palm Springs offices support numerous research efforts with a range of partners in order to learn more about listed species and their habitats and inform conservation strategies. In 2022, we contributed more than $1.18 million through 11 new cooperative agreements to accomplish on-the-ground conservation.


Raven Management Program

Desert tortoises face a growing threat from increased populations of ravens in their habitat. Partners, including: the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Department of Defense, and Hardshell Labs have been experimenting with different strategies to reduce common raven predation on the desert tortoise.

Humane, innovative technological solutions such as aerial egg oiling, and the use of 3D printed replicas of juvenile tortoises, called 'techno-torts,' are being tested as adverse conditioning on ravens. It is hoped that ravens may learn to avoid tortoises and pass that aversion to their young.

The Desert Tortoise Recovery Program works to provide effective and coordinated recovery, research, and monitoring activities for the Mojave Desert Tortoise; provide a sound and defensible scientific basis for decision-making; assess the benefits of recovery actions; provide information and syntheses; facilitate communication of progress toward, and maintain an open dialogue regarding, desert tortoise recovery goals; and provide greater credibility and support for recovery efforts.

Butterfly Conservation in Southern California

In Southern California, habitat loss and fragmentation, and increased frequency of wildfires have resulted in the decline of some of our native butterfly species. Our office is working with a variety of federal, state and local partners to implement recovery actions for threatened and endangered butterflies. Learn more about our efforts below. 

What in pollen are we up to (Laguna Mountains skipper)
Diversity of effort benefits diversity in nature (El Segundo blue butterfly)
Celebrating California's coastal butterflies 
Saving Southern California's rarest butterflies
Once vanished, rare butterfly reintroduced on San Diego National Wildlife Refuge (Quino checkerspot butterfly)

As required under the Endangered Species Act, every 5 years we undertake a review of the status of species that have been listed as threatened or endangered. You can read the latest five year review of our listed butterfly species. 

El Segundo blue butterfly (2021)
Hermes copper butterfly (listed in 2021) - view the final listing rule
Laguna Mountains skipper (2019)
Quino checkerspot butterfly (2023)
Palos Verdes blue butterfly (2021)