Trump's proposed border wall may affect wildlife, local environmental expert says
Co-chairman of the Sierra Club Borderlands Team, Scott Nicol, led a group of local residents along the border wall by the Hidalgo Pumphouse Museum and World Birding Center Sunday.
The environmental expert aimed to show how President Trump's proposed wall could affect the Rio Grande Valley's natural and recreational areas.
"The idea of throwing $21 billion at something that is completely ineffectual and highly destructive is a complete waste," Nicol said. "It just doesn't make any sense at all.”
Nicol believes the border wall won't work, and says it affects the habitat of the Valley's natural wildlife.
"Right behind us you have a tract of the lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge," said Nicol. "It was set aside for ocelots, a federally protected endangered wildcat, and if you chop their habitat up, they don't have enough space. They don't have enough room to find food, they can't find mates, and that pushes them closer to extinction.”
Nicol added that a new border wall could cause potential flooding, wherever a levee isn’t located.
Many of the residents who attended Sunday walk did not believe in constructing more border fencing.
"Now the gates are closed, people can't come back here," said University of Texas Rio Grande Valley professor, Miguel Diaz-Barriga. "This used to be a wonderful place to bring your family and walk along the trails. So, it's kind of sad to see it in the state that it is, because of the border wall.”
Nicol says that the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, the Benston-Rio Grande Valley World Birding Center and State Park, Big Bend National Park and private property may be affected by President Trump's proposed border wall.