Partner and Project Information

The CESU Concept

The Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) National Council in the U.S. Department of the Interior develops policy and provides guidance for a network of CESUs being established across the country.  Each CESU is a consortium of multiple federal agencies and partner institutions formed to address natural and cultural resource issues in a single biogeographic region. The CESU National Council has designated a total of seventeen such regions.

Key elements within each CESU include a host university in charge of program administration, a federal managers committee responsible for program evaluation, and a 17.5% cap on indirect costs. Furthermore, federal agencies participating in this partnership must maintain active and significant involvement in the research activity. They provide scientists and project funds, and supervise their own participating scientists. University partners bring space, faculty expertise, students and educational services to the network. Non-academic partners bring additional perspective and specialized expertise to the CESUs.

The Desert Southwest CESU was established in October 2000. The following is a list of current partners:

Host University The University of Arizona

Federal Agencies

  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Department of Defense
  • National Park Service
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Civil Works

Partner Institutions

  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
  • Howard University
  • New Mexico State University
  • Sonoran Institute
  • Texas State University
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • University of California-Riverside
  • Universidad de Sonora
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • Organization of American Historians
  • Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
  • Pima County/Pima County Regional Flood Control District.

The Desert Southwest biogeographic region comprises portions of five states (California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas) and spans three deserts (the Mojave, Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts).

Addition of New Partners Protocol

CESU Project Criteria

DSCESU Strategic Plan