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

University Partners

  • Baylor University
  • Eastern New Mexico University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Howard University
  • New Mexico State University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Texas State University
  • The University of Arizona
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Universidad de Sonora
  • University of California- Riverside
  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • University of Utah
  • Western New Mexico University

Federal Agencies

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Department of Defense
  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Civil Works
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Southwest Region
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Non- Federal Partners

  • Archaeology Southwest
  • Arizona Game and Fish Department
  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
  • Bird Conservancy of the Rockies
  • Cornerstones Community Partnerships
  • CyArk
  • Desert Botanical Garden
  • Hawks Aloft, Inc.
  • Organization of American Historians
  • Pima County and Pima County Regional Flood Control District
  • Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
  • Sky Island Alliance
  • Sonoran Institute
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
  • Western National Parks Association

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).

CESU Project Criteria

DSCESU Strategic Plan