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Environmental Impact of U.S.-Mexico Border Fence By Hannah Legatzke.

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Presentation on theme: "Environmental Impact of U.S.-Mexico Border Fence By Hannah Legatzke."— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental Impact of U.S.-Mexico Border Fence By Hannah Legatzke

2 The Wall  Three major pieces of legislation for the construction of the wall: Operation Hold the Line (Texas), Operation Gatekeeper (California) and Operation Safeguard (Arizona)  There is over 600 miles of fencing between the U.S. and Mexico

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4 A Sensitive Environment The border wall cuts across national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas, including:  Organ Pipe National Monument  Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge  Coronado National Forest  Big Bend National Park  Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve

5 How the Wall Has Environmental Impact  Infringes wildlife habitat and blocks migratory routes  Causes flooding, erosion, and sedimentation problems  Wall can act as a dam  Construction of the wall requires building new roads  Can cause the introduction of invasive species  Channels human migration to more remote areas Plant matter gets caught in the fence which can prevent water from getting through and causes floods Litter left behind by migrants in environmentally sensitive regions

6 Impact on Water Flows The wall affects the flow of water in the desert environment of the Southwest:  The wall causes changes in the pattern of sedimentation, and might cause the San Pedro River, one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Southwest to shift  Wall caused accelerated erosion at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument  A barrier in an underground drainage tunnel in Nogales caused flooding in Mexico that killed two people and damaged $8 million worth of property and infrastructure  Isolates the wetlands of Rio Bosque Wetlands Park

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8 How the Wall Impacts Animals  Fragments habitat  Places additional ecological stress on areas that have already lost much of their native vegetation  Artificial lighting affects behavior of nocturnal animals confuses migratory birds, causing them to collide  Animals may be killed by vehicles on roads along the border  Separates populations  The ocelot, of which fewer than 50 live in the U.S., is separated from the larger and more genetically diverse population in Mexico  Large animals like coyotes and bobcats do not fit through the fence

9 Endangered Species  Many threatened and endangered species live in the borderlands  4000 plant species are native to the borderlands  Affects the habitat of 85 endangered species of plants and animals  Border Patrol estimates that 39 species have been affected in Arizona Species most at risk: Arroyo toad California red- legged frog Black-spotted newt Pacific pond turtle Jaguarundi

10 More Species at Risk  Gray wolves  Jaguar  Bighorn Sheep  Pronghorn Antelope

11 Laws and the Wall  The Department of Homeland Security waived 36 laws for the construction of the wall including the Endangered Species Act and National Environment Policy Act (NEPA)  Waiving NEPA meant that less study was done on the potential environmental impact of the wall

12 The Debate  Supporters of the wall argue that it is necessary to stop illegal immigration and drug trafficking  Critiques of the wall argue that the wall does not stop illegal immigration and drug trafficking and/ or it is too costly in terms of economic cost, environmental impact, and human rights ignored because of the wall The Problem The wall’s success at stopping illegal immigration will only be known after it is constructed.

13 Meanwhile…  The wall will continue to negatively impact the environment  The wall is immensely costly  The government spent $2.4 billion dollars on 670 miles of fence between 2006 and 2009 (~3.58 million per mile)  The wall funnels migrants away from urban areas to more remote areas of the desert where there are increased risks of exposure and hundreds of people die every year trying to cross the border

14 Questions?

15 Sources  Arroyo Toad. Digital image. CalPhotos. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb  Deer Stopped by Border Wall. Digital image. ** NO BORDER WALL **. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb  Eriksson, Linday, and Melinda Taylor. The Environmental Impacts of the Border Wall Between Texas and Mexico (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 27 Feb  Fellers, G. California Red-legged Frog Photo Gallery. Digital image. California Red-legged Frog Photo Gallery. U.S. Geological Surver, 12 Apr Web. 27 Feb  Gaskill, Melissa. "United States Border Fence Threatens Wildlife." Nature 452 (2011): n. pag. Nature.com. Nature Publishing Group, 2 Aug Web. 27 Feb  Hider, James, and Mexico City. U.S.-Mexico-World's Busiest Border. Digital image. BBC News. BBC, 16 May Web. 27 Feb  Hood, Tom. Groups United by Desire to Clean up Border Trash. Digital image. Desert News. N.p., 4 May Web. 27 Feb  Jaguarundi Facts | Big Cat Rescue. Digital image. Big Cat Rescue. Big Cat Rescue Corporation, 11 May Web. 27 Feb  Nafis, Gary. Black-spotted Newt - WildEarth Guardians. Digital image.WildEarth Guardians. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb  New Border Walls Designed to Flood Texas Towns - The Texas Observer. Digital image. The Texas Observer. N.p., 11 July Web. 27 Feb  News: Border Wall Could Block Wildlife : DNews. Perf. Jorge Ribas. DNews. N.p., 8 July Web. 27 Feb  Operation Gatekeeper." Operation Gatekeeper. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb

16  Pike, John. "Homeland Security." US-Mexico Border Fence / Great Wall of Mexico. N.p., Web. 27 Feb  Pike, John. "Military." Operation Gatekeeper / Operation Hold-the-Line / Operation Safeguard. N.p., Web. 27 Feb  Roig-Franzia, Manuel. "Mexico Calls U.S. Border Fence Severe Threat to Environment." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 16 Nov Web. 27 Feb  "Damage Caused by the Border Wall." Sierra Club, n.d. Web. 27 Feb  Schlyer, Krista. PHOTOS: Animals Stopped in Their Tracks by Border Wall?Digital image. National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 28 Oct Web. 28 Feb  "Sierra Club Border Policy Campaign." Arizona Sierra Club Border Pages, Solutions. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb  Western Pond Turtle. Digital image. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Jan Web. 28 Feb


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