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Topic: Flora & Fauna     Department: Letters

When turtles and national security collide

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Your article about desert tortoises was well researched and written ("Mojave Squeeze," HCN, 8/5/13). I'm concerned about the U.S. Army's unsuccessful efforts with tortoise translocation at Fort Irwin as part of its land expansion authorized by Congress in 2001. Similar land-acquisition efforts are underway by the U.S. Marine Corps in Twentynine Palms, Calif., where the military wishes to add nearly 168,000 acres to the 600,000 acres already withdrawn for the installation. Congress will ultimately decide whether this is prudent. Among other things, the Marines are proposing tortoise translocation, with plans to assess habitat quality, tortoise health and populations for at least two years before translocating animals from areas proposed for high and moderate impact by training. I sure hope the Marines learn well from the Army's "how not to" experience at Fort Irwin.

Joe Ross
Roseburg, Oregon

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