Border Wall Map Reveals Damage to Landscape, Migration Routes
Monday, July 19, 2021
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A newly-released map identifies portions of the U.S.-Mexico border wall built by the Trump administration, and for conservation groups and wildlife advocates, it is alarming.
The Biden administration halted construction, and said it will use federal funds to assess damage caused by the new, higher walls.
Myles Traphagen, borderlands program coordinator for the Wildlands Network who created the map, said in addition to environmental damage, the project identified several areas in border states where restoration to benefit wildlife is needed.
"There's very high biodiversity in southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico," Traphagen explained. "It's a meeting ground of the neotropics and the temperate zones. It's the only place where the jaguar and the black bear share the same trail."
Upon halting border-wall construction, the Biden administration said it plans to perform environmental assessments, which had been waived by Trump to speed construction.
Michael Dax, western program director for the Wildlands Network, said the map may surprise some who do not realize the extent of wall built in three years, or how much of North America has been walled off from Mexico.
"The Trump administration was sadly very successful in building significant portions of wall," Dax confirmed. "It has been hugely impactful to wildlife. There are numerous pictures of wildlife that are dead along the wall, not able to reach historic water sources."
Traphagen emphasized some border landscapes in New Mexico have been permanently altered, including one area where a high-speed road was built and stadium lighting installed.
"And now, there's no ability for pronghorn antelope, and coyotes and all the other creatures, to move freely across the landscape that they've inhabited for tens of thousands of years," Traphagen contended.
Biden's executive order paused all new border wall construction, and Traphagen said contractors soon abandoned the sites.
"They just were throwing it up as fast as they possibly could," Traphagen observed. "And the construction companies basically got up and left. There's just debris littering the entire border."
get more stories like this via email
This election season, South Dakota is starting to implement voting-access reforms in light of a recent settlement with Native American tribes…
Between rising inflation and the ups and downs of the stock market, it isn't surprising that folks are concerned about their own financial situation…
The U.S. Postal Service is hiring 28,000 seasonal employees ahead of the surge in end-of-year holiday letters and packages for facilities in Michigan …
The roughly 2.4 million Ohioans who rely on Social Security income are expected to get a big boost in benefits, but advocates for the program are …
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and her challenger, former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, both are courting votes from Maine's largest contingency -- …
Health and Wellness
Even for people who think they're too busy to exercise, experts say there's one surefire way to squeeze in a modest workout: walking. Although often …
Groups challenging the criminal consequences for failing to pay rent in Arkansas say they'll take another run at it, perhaps as a class-action …
Wisconsin is one of 33 states allowing Social Security benefits to be extended to teachers. As the future of the program is debated, a retired …