US Border Fence Could Be Eco-Disaster
US border fence could be eco-disaster
Wednesday, 25 July 2007 17:02
While the US Congress failed to pass a sweeping immigration reform bill that would have benefited thousands of illegal Irish ex-pats, the US is going ahead with plans to build a fence along the US-Mexico border.
The debate, to date, has focused mostly on the human element. Forgotten is the environmental impact of such a project.
The riot of green vegetation that lines both sides of the Rio Grande river along the southeast Texas and Mexican border can give a canoeist the impression of gliding past unbroken wilderness.
But the strip of riparian forest that runs a few miles between the Texas towns of Fronton and Roma is deceptive.
In reality one of the most ecologically diverse corners of the United States has been diced up by farming and urban sprawl into isolated fragments of habitat that support far less wildlife than when they were whole.
Now, conservationists are concerned that a planned border security fence to stem illegal immigration from Mexico could cut this delicate area up even more and possibly remove the corridor of vital riverbank habitat that remains.
'We know as habitats become fragments whether by roads, fences or walls animals become much less capable of roaming widely,' said Dr Joel Berger, a senior scientist with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society.