Experts worry what wall may do to wildlife habitat - Brownsville's eco-tourism may be impacted, as well
(Note: For all the Language Deception running rife throughout the Illegal Invasion issue, no one has noticed that birds have wings and can fly over walls? The Great Wall of China -- -- did not keep any birds from going from one side to the other any more than would any border fence or barrier -- including natural barriers like rivers and mountain ranges. If the barrier is too large, like Lake Superior, birds will fly around -- and Lake Superior is a natural barrier. The "sky is falling," self-proclaimed "environmentalists," intent upon deceiving the public into thinking that it needs to keep sending their groups mega-dollars, continues to paint a false picture. Illegal invasion actually DOES do damage to "the environment," but such groups carefully skirt any mention of the countless discarded plastic jugs, diapers, human excrement and much more, that has hurt the human, domestic, wildlife and pet residents of the border region. This isn't a "may," "might," or "could" issue, based upon a mirage; it is fact, and legal, honorable immigration doesn't do this to a sovereign nation or its borders and legal residents. No one wants to talk to those that legally immigrated and became legal citizens, because those good folks will tell the truth: they, like a growing number of Americans, including U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo, R-CO, are appalled and disgusted by the shenanigans of corporate monsters seeking cheap labor that is little more than held hostage for the blood, sweat and tears that can be wrung from it. Notice that only "wildlife" is mentioned by the global "environmental" "non-profits" -- wildlife that is directly harmed by the colossal waste littering our border that is left by "coyotes" and illegal invaders.)
The Great Wall is 4,160 miles long (6,700 kilometers)

June 2, 2006
By  Sara Ines Calderon [email protected]
The Brownsville Herald
1135 E. Van Buren
Brownsville, TX 78520
800-488-4301 or 956-542-4301
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No one has really thought of the birds.
Months spent formulating and debating legislation that the U.S. House and Senate have passed with ways to keep people from crossing the border unchecked. None mentions the wildlife that shares the international region.
The House version would build a fence straight through Brownsville, through farmland, back yards, public parks and wildlife refuges, all the way to Laredo. The Senate bill wouldn't be too different.
Sealing the border with fences may have unintended consequences for the environment, said Jenny Neely of Defenders of Wildlife, a group in Arizona that has been monitoring the damage done to wildlife there.
In Brownsville, the Sabal Palms Audubon Center and Sanctuary could potentially be hit hard by the fences and all-weather access road to be built no more than 50 yards from the border, as proposed by the House measure.
Trash can be picked up, Neely said, but fences can destroy animal species that migrate as a way of life.
Ocelots in this region were the perfect example.
“It’s going to impact the ability of people to bird watch down there,” Neely said of Brownsville and the potential economic impact a fence along the border could have. The damage done in Arizona by Border Patrol activity has been great, she said and is concerned that Brownsville, with the largest wildlife corridor in the nation, will also suffer.
Mike Gonzalez, director of the Brownsville Convention and Visitors Bureau is more optimistic about the future of the city’s tourist industry.
Eco-tourism, such as birding and nature attractions, accounts for 15 percent to 20 percent of the local economy, said Gonzalez. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
A fence to insulate the city from violence and unchecked migration might not necessarily be a problem, he said.
“Too many of these hits we're taking are not good,” Gonzalez said, referring to “border scares,” such as [narcotics] violence or drug smuggling.
The fence could become its own tourist attraction, Gonzalez suggests, though it might affect Mexican tourists and the ease with which they travel.
Mexican tourism is just as important to Brownsville as eco-tourism, he said, and means big money to the entire Rio Grande Valley. “I'm concerned about how the Mexican national tourists are going to respond to this info. Hopefully, they'll still come.”
Damage done to wildlife comes from trash and traffic, which both immigrants and the Border Patrol contribute to, but for which neither is fully responsible, Neely said. The real problem is policy, or a lack thereof, that doesn't seriously try to protect wildlife, she said.
“It’s hard to imagine that they would build a wall across an area that is so important economically,” she said of the Sabal Palms Audubon and Sanctuary, 527 acres of protected land. “There is no way to mitigate the damage done by these walls.”
Specifically, there are types of birds that are particularly attracted to the river that might leave and nocturnal animals that might be affected by lighting and force them out of the area, said E. Lee Zieger, president of the Rio Grande Delta Audubon Society.
A wildlife corridor, that is anywhere from half a mile to 200 feet wide, is also of concern, he said, because it is a protected area. Animals are an excellent gauge for the quality of our environment, Zieger said, and if fences, roads, lights and cameras invaded protected lands, the animals will go elsewhere.
“There are some birds on the river that are very rare to see -- that you don't see anywhere else, (the fence) would definitely limit it,” Zieger, a San Benito native, said.
“Birds fly someplace else. Your ground animals would go even farther inland. That’s what it will boil down to.”

Copyright 2006, The Brownsville Herald.