Past Features

August 2, 2017

Will Trump wall cut though wildlife refuge?
No, but CBP should maintain public access

Google Earth view of Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge-added graphics by American Border Patrol.
Mother Jones -- July 31, 2017
Trump's Big, Beautiful Wall Will Cut Through a Big, Beautiful Texas Wildlife Refuge  
This could do some serious environmental damage.
    US Customs and Border Protection will begin constructing the first segment of President Trump's border wall in November through a national wildlife refuge, using money it's already received from Congress.
    That's what a US Fish and Wildlife Service official recently told a nonprofit group that raises money to support two national wildlife refuges in South Texas, according to the group's vice president.
    “I was alarmed,” said Jim Chapman of Friends of the Wildlife Corridor. “It was not good news.” [...]
    The 2,088-acre Santa Ana refuge, located along the Rio Grande south of McAllen, Texas, is considered one of the nation's top bird-watching sites, with more than 400 species of birds. The refuge is also home to two endangered wildcats—the ocelot and jaguarundi --- and some of the last surviving stands of sabal palm trees in South Texas.
    A wall cutting through the refuge could do serious environmental damage, Chapman said, undermining the reason Congress appropriated money to buy the land in the first place. But under a 2005 law, the Department of Homeland Security can waive any environmental regulations that would normally impede construction in a sensitive wildlife area.

Glenn Spencer -- August 2, 2017   
Don't panic quite yet   
 
   Mother Jones quotes a US Fish and Wildlife Service official and says a President Trump's border wall will cut through a national wildlife refuge.
    Anyone with access to Google Earth can quickly see where the Santa Ana refuge is, and that a levee, designed to stop the Rio Grande River from flooding the surrounding farmland, runs along the its northern boundary --- not through it.
    Just as with other new fencing in this area, the “Trump Wall' will no doubt be built atop that levee --- and it will not ‘cut through' the refuge.
    There are a couple of spots along the levee where pubic access to the refuge could be cut off if not maintained using some sort of gates that can be monitored and controlled. We must see what CBP plans for this area, however I am sure they don't plan to completely cut this public access.
    Another opening of the levee further west is more problematic.
    At this point there is a road running through the levee to a boat ramp on the Rio Grande - inaccessible from the existing public entrance points --- but ideally situated for drug smugglers.
    In this case, CBP may be mostly interested in using the “Trump Wall” to deny refuge to criminals.

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