Hurry to build a section of the border wall, leaving damage including blown mountains, fallen cacti – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Guadalupe Canyon, Arizona (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — We are pushing for further construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall before the end of next month’s term. This allows workers to explode dynamite in the remote, rugged southeastern corner of Arizona, crushing mountain peaks and reshaping the landscape forever.

Each explosion at Guadalupe Canyon releases dust as workers flatten the land and give way to a 30-foot-high steel column near the New Mexico line. A heavy machine crawls on a road dug on a rocky slope, with a single tap tap tapping a hole for a US Land Management property post.

Last year, Mr. Trump facilitated the construction of border walls, primarily in Arizona and New Mexico’s wildlife sanctuaries and indigenous territories, avoiding a legal battle over private land at a crowded intersection in Texas. This work caused environmental damage, prevented animals from moving freely, and damaged unique mountain and desert landscapes that conservationists fear could be irreversible. The government states that it protects national security, citing the abandonment of environmental law in order to carry out its signature immigration policy.

Environmentalists want Joe Biden in the presidential election to quit his job, but doing so quickly can be difficult and costly, leaving towering pillars in sensitive border areas. There is sex.

The worst damage is along the Arizona border, from a 100-year-old saguaro cactus that collapsed in the western desert to a shrinking pond of endangered fish in the eastern canyon. Recent construction has blocked the last major damless river in the southwest. Desert tortoises, occasional ocelots, and the world’s smallest owls are more difficult to cross.

“The interconnected landscape across the two countries has been transformed into an industrial wasteland,” said Randy Cerario of the Tucson Biodiversity Center.

In the San Bernardino National Wildlife Sanctuary near Guadalupe Canyon, biologist Myles Traphagen says field cameras have reduced animal movements such as mountain lions, bobcats and pig-like Havelina by 90% over the past three months. Said that.

“This wall is the biggest obstacle to wildlife migration we’ve ever seen in this part of the world,” said Traphagen, a non-profit Wildlands Network. “It is changing the evolutionary history of North America.”

In 1982, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service established a shelter of approximately four square miles to protect water resources and endangered native fish. A variety of hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and bats also live there.

Since U.S. Customs and Border Protection contractors began building new walls in October, environmentalists have been using millions of gallons of groundwater to mix cement and spray it onto dusty dirt roads. It is estimated that it was pumped up.

Photovoltaics pump water into a shrinking pond beneath a buzzing cottonwood tree. Bullfrog barks and Yaqui top minnows wiggle pools that were only supplied by natural artesian wells that pump ancient water from the aquifer.

A three-mile barrier blocks the wildlife crossing corridor between Mexico’s Sierra Madre and the northern Rocky Mountains, threatening species such as the endangered Aplomado falcon and the blue-gray Aplomado falcon.

The Trump administration says it has completed 430 miles of the $ 15 billion wall and promises to reach 450 miles by the end of the year.

Biden’s transition authorities say he supports the promise of the campaign — “not another foot” on the wall. It’s unclear how Biden will stop construction, but it could leave the project half-finished, force the government to pay for breaking contracts, and offend those who think of the barriers essential to border security. ..

“Building walls can hardly stop criminals and cartels trying to abuse borders,” said Biden’s transition team. Biden says it will focus on “smart border enforcement efforts that actually keep the United States safer, such as investments to improve the screening infrastructure at our ports of entry.”

Environmentalists want an ally of Alejandro Mallorcas, a candidate for Biden, who heads the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Customs and Border Protection.

“Every day, another mile of border areas will be dumped in the trash,” Serraglio said, until construction stopped.

Environmental law attorney Dina Bear said the Biden administration could terminate the construction contract, which would allow companies to seek reconciliation. The cost is unclear as the deal is not publicly available, but Bear said it was inferior to the price of wall finishing and maintenance. Military funds re-allocated under the national emergency declared by Trump are now funding jobs.

Bear, who worked for the White House’s Environmental Quality Council under Republican and Democratic regimes, repairs damage by removing walls in important areas, buying more habitat, and replanting slopes. He said he wanted to secure the funds for it.

According to ecologists, in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, thousands of tree-like saguaro were covered with bulldozers, some of which were replanted elsewhere.

They say leaving the locks open will help mitigate the damage by damming the San Pedro River, which runs north from beneath the Mexican border through the central corridor of Sierra Madre’s “sky island.”

These high mountains have a dramatically different ecosystem than the desert below, with 300 species of birds, including the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, nesting along the last major free-flowing river in the southwest. .. A white-nosed raccoon-like coati and a yellow striped Sonora Tiger salamander also live there.

At the nearby Coronado National Monument, scientists are using cameras to record wildlife as the crew prepares to begin construction. The switchback was cut off on the hillside, but the 30-foot stanchions have not yet risen along where the Spanish expedition marched around 1540.

The government has placed pillars four inches high where there is a vehicle barrier several feet high and an opening large enough for large cats and other animals to mate and hunt. I am planning to install it.

Biologist Emily Burns of the non-profit Sky Island Alliance said the construction would hurt the world’s smallest elf owl, less than five inches high. Birds are too small to fly over fences and may not know to squeeze.

“This kind of massive turmoil can endanger the species, even if it’s not under threat,” said Alliance Secretary-General Louise Mizutal.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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Hurry to build a section of the border wall, leaving damage including blown mountains, fallen cacti – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

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