Desert Tortoise Research at a Wind Energy Facility near Palm Springs, CA



Overview

As a federally and state listed species, the desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) in California is protected. One desert tortoise population on an existing wind farm near Palm Springs (locally known as Mesa) has been studied at various times since 1992 by Dr. Jeff Lovich of U.S. Geological Survey, providing an exceptional opportunity to assess the long‐term effects of wind energy production on this threatened species.

In collaboration with researchers from U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mickey Agha and Dr. Steven Price are currently assessing long term-apparent survivorship of Desert Tortoises at Mesa with regard to handling methods, proximity to wind energy facility features, and daily activity and its relation to certain environmental parameters.

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Collaborators

Lovich

Dr. Jeff Lovich is a Research Ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Biology at George Mason University and his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Georgia, working at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. In addition to over 100 scientific publications, he has four books including 1) Turtles of the United States and Canada; 2) Biological Diversity: Problems and Challenges; 3) The State of the Colorado River Ecosystem in the Grand Canyon; and 4) a substantially revised Turtles of the United States and Canada, Second Edition, published in 2009. He is also a Fulbright Scholar (Morocco, 2008). Current research focuses on the impacts of wind and solar energy development on wildlife in the desert southwest, especially desert tortoises.

Arundel

Terry Arundel is geographer with the USGS-Southwest Biological Science Center (SBSC) specializing in using geographic information systems, remote sensing, and modeling technologies to analyze complex geospatial and temporal ecosystem research questions. He received a Masters in Geography from Northern Arizona University and has over 25 years of professional experience in surveying, cartography and geographic information systems (GIS).

Delaney

Dave Delaney is a research wildlife biologist/bioacoustician who works on threatened and endangered species, and species at risk on military lands and other federal lands. He has been working for the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (part of the U.S. Army Corps' Engineering Research and Development Center) in Champaign, IL since 1998. Much of his work has focused on the potential effects of military training and other anthropogenic effects on species of concern (Delaney et al. 1999, 2011; Grubb et al. 2010, in press; Pater et al. 2009).

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