RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA – The Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee, Inc. (DTPC) today announced that Dr. Brittany Slabach, PhD has been named Preserve Manager and Conservation Coordinator, effective July 1 st . Dr. Slabach has a Master’s degree in Biology and a Doctorate in Philosophy of Biology. She most recently served as project manager and lead researcher of the Kentucky Cow Elk project and as a visiting instructor at the University of Kentucky.
Ron Berger, DTPC President, said that “Brittany’s personality, education and passion for
the desert tortoise and its habitat are a perfect fit for this position.” Dr. Slabach said
that she “looks forward to helping to expand the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area
(DTRNA), the largest existing preserve for the tortoise, Mohave ground squirrel and
other threatened and endangered species which the DTPC, in conjunction with Bureau
of Land Management (BLM) and other agencies has been building for more than 40
years.” Dr. Slabach also plans to “expand the education outreach program and increase
the number of research projects which are crucial to the preservation of the desert
tortoise and the ecosystem in which it inhabits.”
Dr. Slabach replaces Jillian Estrada, who has accepted a position as Habitat Restoration Program Specialist with the Great Lakes Commission in Michigan, and left her DTPC position on April 18 th . DTPC President Ron Berger said that “Jill has done a terrific job for us, helping to protect and recover the desert tortoise. We wish her the very best in her new adventure.”
Dr. Slabach in the Galapagos,
The Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee Inc. (DTPC) is a nonprofit charitable
organization established in 1974 to promote the welfare of the desert tortoise
(Gopherus agassizii) in the wild through land acquisition and management, scientific
research, and educational outreach. The DTPC currently owns and manages over 7,000 acres of habitat for the desert tortoise and other sensitive species in the Mojave and Colorado deserts. In collaboration with the BLM and other state and federal agencies, the DTPC helped establish the Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area (DTRNA) in Kern County, California and to this day, the DTPC helps manage the DTRNA under a cooperative agreement with the BLM Ridgecrest Field office.
The primary purposes of the DTPC are to promote the welfare of the desert tortoise
(Gopherus agassizii) in the wild and to establish and assist in the establishment of
preserves for the desert tortoise. The DTPC, in collaboration with the Bureau of Land
Management and other state and federal agencies, helped establish the Desert Tortoise
Research Natural Area (DTRNA) in Kern County, California. Since the creation of the
DTRNA, the DTPC has used Congressionally-appropriated Land and Water Conservation Funds, private donations, and mitigation funds received through contractual agreements with developers and state and federal agencies to acquire private lands within and adjacent to the DTRNA. Title to substantial acreage the DTPC acquired within the DTRNA was transferred to the BLM with the understanding that it would continue to be protected under existing federal mandates. In addition to transferring lands in fee title to the BLM, the DTPC also has conveyed, and is in the process of conveying, conservation easements to the State of California, as required by state Incidental Take Permits and Streambed Alteration Agreements.
In addition to its importance as protected habitat for wildlife, the DTRNA serves as an
important area for research, educational outreach, and contemplative recreation.
Universities, colleges, and government research agencies have undertaken major
projects researching tortoises, Mohave ground squirrels and other mammals, birds,
lizards, and vegetation in this protected, fenced area. These projects have resulted in
many publications that help guide conservation in the desert, and there are more
projects currently in process. In 1989, the DTPC and BLM developed a Naturalist
Program. Drawing on shared funds, they have staffed Naturalists at the DTRNA for 3
months every spring since then. The DTRNA typically receives over 1,000 visitors during this 3-month period, and Naturalists give several programs to school and community groups, while interacting with almost all visitors passing through.