Thursday, April 19, 2018

Threat of Trump's Border Wall Lands Lower Rio Grande on Endangered Rivers List

Posted By on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 5:34 PM

click to enlarge Congress recently approved construction on 33 more miles of border wall along the Lower Rio Grande. - WIKIPEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikipedia Commons
  • Congress recently approved construction on 33 more miles of border wall along the Lower Rio Grande.
The Trump Administration's unrelenting push for a border wall has landed the already troubled Lower Rio Grande on an environmental advocacy group's 2018 list of America's Most Endangered Rivers.

American Rivers placed the Lower Rio Grande on the list because additional wall construction would lead to flooding and decimate wildlife along the waterway. Dams and diversions have already taken a toll, but Congress' recent approval of $1.6 billion to fund 33 more miles of wall could drive damage to catastrophic levels, the group says.

"One of the biggest problems is the elimination of the green space along the river that provides refuge and food for so many migratory animals," said Jackelin Treviño, a member of Sierra Club's Lower Rio Grande Valley Executive Committee.

The nonprofit American Rivers releases its annual list to highlight waterways endangered by development, pollution and climate change. Other waterways on this year's list face potential damage from Trump Administration actions, including loosened mining restrictions.

The list was released days after a peer-reviewed study from University of Texas-Austin scientists catalogued the potentially disastrous effects border wall construction would have on the region's wildlife.

While legal challenges could slow or stop construction of the funded stretch of wall, Sierra Club's Treviño also urged Texans to call their elected officials.
New construction is likely to disrupt animal habitats including the 2,088-acre Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and jeopardize nearby residents, she added. 

"The flooding also will affect communities," she said. "It doesn't just stand to threaten wildlife but human life as well."

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