USFWS Protocol Clearance Survey

USFWS Protocol Clearance Survey

USFWS Protocol Clearance Survey

The goals of this protocol are to:

1. Locate and identify as many desert tortoises as possible within the project site.

2. Relocate all encountered desert tortoises away from the project site.

3. Carefully excavate, gather, and rebury desert tortoise eggs while ensuring their safety.

When projects occur within areas where desert tortoises live (confirmed by the presence of live tortoises or recent signs), especially for those projects causing permanent or linear disturbances (like pipelines, roads, or transmission lines), a clearance survey might be necessary. This is usually a requirement as part of a biological opinion or an incidental take permit. The purpose is to minimize the chances of harming or killing desert tortoises due to the proposed work. Methods for clearance surveys may include temporarily enclosing tortoises around their burrows, moving them a short distance away from the affected area, or shifting them to a different location as approved by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 

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