Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Endangered and protected Yaqui fish of the San Bernadino Refuge Photo: National Fish & Wildlife Service
Several ponds at the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge went dry or had an extremely low water supply, according to documents obtained by two environmental non-profits. Why? Because the agency building President Trump’s border wall ignored repeated warnings that using the local groundwater to make cement for the wall would cause irreparable harm to the Refuge and to water supplies, The Washington Post reported. But the contractors hired to “build that wall” pumped millions of gallons of groundwater from wells close to the Refuge anyway, putting at risk several species of Yaqui fish the Refuge protects, as well as hummingbirds, 75 species of butterflies, and bats. Meanwhile, The Post also reported that the Army Corps of Engineers is looking to install a system of buoys and nets across the Rio Grande River in several locations where immigrants are known to try to cross into the U.S. from Mexico.
Why This Matters: It seems the Trump administration believes it can do anything to build its wall — regardless of how extreme and what laws it might violate. It’s unlikely that the environmental impacts of pumping out millions of gallons of groundwater in a desert or placing a net across the mighty Rio Grande were given a second thought.
Staff Warns That Groundwater Removals Would Cause A “Dire Emergency” for the Refuge
Buoys and Nets To Block Crossings of the Rio Grande
Nick Miroff of The Post reported that the Trump administration wants to install “floating border barriers” based on a solicitation for information from contractors about their ability to install such a system posted by the Army Corps. The Post says the request is seeking to build a barrier that “must include a component (such as anti-dive mesh) that would impede incursions and/or breaching via underwater diving while minimizing debris buildup.” Apparently the Trump administration is turning to this method of barrier because private landowners are unwilling to sell the government a right of way on their land to build the wall on the U.S. side of the River. It seems unlikely that fish or other wildlife would be able to get through a mesh net as described in the solicitation. The Post story does not specifically mention the possible harm to wildlife but the River ecosystem would certainly be impacted by such a barrier.
Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency finalized the rollback an Obama-era rule that would have, as the Washington Post reported, forced coal plants to treat wastewater with more modern, effective methods in order to curb toxic metals such as arsenic and mercury from contaminating lakes, rivers, and streams near their facilities. The rollback is in line […]
by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer Recent research in Geophysical Research Letters has revealed that “back-to-back bad snow years are likely to become much more frequent in the not-too-distant future,” Alejandra Borunda reported in National Geographic this month. There is now approximately a 7% chance that typically snow-filled regions in the Western US will “get […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.