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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.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer While all eyes were on Texas last month, another part of the U.S. has been dealing with its own water crisis. Parts of Jackson, Mississippi have been without water for almost 3 weeks after cold weather swept through the region. Thousands of people, predominantly people of color, have been impacted by the shortage […]
While more than one million Texans are still living without running water, Democratic lawmakers and advocates across the nation are urging President Biden to back a water infrastructure bill that would commit $35 billion to update and climate-proof the nation’s water infrastructure.
Why This Matters: The Guardian reports that a majority of water and waste systems in the U.S. are unprepared to deal with the increasing impacts of climate change.
Why This Matters: The states failed to reach a water compact more than a decade ago — now they have nowhere else to go but the Supreme Court, which has “original jurisdiction” over a dispute between two states.
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