Don’t Demolish Haven for Endangered Ocelots, Migratory Birds, and Butterflies

Target: Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

Goal: Don’t destroy refuge for endangered ocelots, birds, and butterflies.

The Trump administration’s plan to build a wall continues with the pilot project in Texas at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, one the nation’s oldest refuges. This site is an easy one to obtain because legally, the land had already belonged to the federal government, meaning all legal obstacles can be bypassed in the name of border security enhancements. This means environmental assessments can be ignored, dismissing the hundreds of organisms who call this refuge home. Not only are there significant wildlife repercussions, but activists point out that the wall would violate property rights, displacing many landowners and jeopardizing structures at and around the barrier sites. Trump is trying to keep his promise to build a wall, but he is ignoring the lives of the people and the hundreds of plants and animals, including the endangered U.S. ocelot, who will be greatly affected.

A haven for migratory birds, butterflies, endangered ocelots, and vegetation, Santa Ana is one of the most biodiverse refuges in the U.S. It is located in the Rio Grande Valley where the river acts as a natural border between the U.S. and Mexico. The Trump administration is using  Santa Ana as a pilot project where existing levees that divide the two countries will be replaced with an 18-foot bollard fence on top of a concrete wall. In addition, the administration is planning to build a 150-foot enforcement zone around the barrier, which would mean clearing vegetation in exchange for gravel. The wall would trap ocelots by restricting movement and kill them during storm floods. Over 400 bird species (including migratory birds), 450 plant species, butterflies, and the rare Texas cabal palm would lose their homes. 

This pilot project in Santa Ana, Texas fails the public and our natural resources by disregarding environmental damages, and neglecting landowners and homeowners’ well-being. Many homeowners, landowners, and structures would be displaced. The $45-million pilot project is slated to be completed by July 2019, though some parts of the whole Texan wall will be delayed because of private property rights. Trump would need to fight for the land, which is time-consuming (with some cases already pending for decades) and costly.

We cannot stand by as another development plans to disrupt and destroy homes for hundreds of organisms. Help protect migratory birds, butterflies, plants, and the endangered ocelots by signing the petition below.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Secretary Nielsen,

I understand that building the wall for enhanced border security is one of Trump’s main priorities. However, the pilot project in Santa Ana violates property rights and would destroy habitats for over 400 bird species, 450 plant species, butterflies, the rare Texas cabal palm, and the endangered U.S. ocelot. We cannot afford to disrupt these living organisms’ habitats and lives. There is no telling how these species will recover—if they do. Although the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is an easy location to start building the wall because it is federally owned, we ask you to reconsider.

These plans represent a blatant disregard for the environment and for the landowners who are going to be displaced. You have the power to influence how we treat our natural resources and how we care for the organisms that inhabit them. We ask you to conduct an environmental assessment and not build the wall through the Santa Ana refuge, the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, or the National Butterfly Center, all of which are currently going to be bisected with the wall.

Sincerely,

[Your name here]

Photo Credit: N/A

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One Comment

  1. SAVE THE HABITAT HERE FOR THE IMPORTANT 400 BIRD SPECIES.

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