Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 | 4:33 p.m.
CARSON CITY — It could cost up to $2 million to protect the endangered desert tortoise during road construction projects in Southern Nevada.
The state Board of Transportation today approved contracts of up to $1 million each to Biological and Environmental Consulting and HDR Engineering to make sure construction projects in Clark, Nye and Lincoln counties don’t overrun the habitat of the threatened tortoises.
The firms have biologists who will locate the tortoises and move them.
Department of Transportation Director Rudy Malfabon said the agency could face federal fines if tortoises are killed as the result of construction.
He said the firms will be paid only for time spent finding and relocating the tortoises. The contracts are for two years.