This 557-acre sanctuary lies approximately ten miles south of Brownsville, along the southern most bend of the Rio Grande. The sanctuary contains the largest remaining tract of Sabal Palm forest that once blanketed the Rio Grande Delta. Two hundred and eighty-nine species of birds have been recorded at the site, and diversity of species using the area is high in all seasons of the year.And according to the Brownsville Herald, as much as 75% of the protected lands in the Rio Grande could see a direct impact from the wall. Migratory birds flight patterns would be disrupted, and animals access to the water could be impeded.
Sabal Palm is one of six breeding area for the highly threatened Brownsville Common Yellowthroat. The sanctuary provides stop-over habitat for a variety of circum-gulf neotropical-nearctic migratory songbirds including Bell’s Vireo, Golden-winged Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Painted Bunting and Dickcissel.
“The fence is going to be bad for the refuge and for wildlife,” said Jim Chapman, president of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Group of the Sierra Club. “Our biggest concern is that it’s a barrier to animals, keeping them from crossing to the river. It’s likely to impact endangered and non-endangered species.”
The US Customs and Border Control is seeking public comments for the assessment until Oct. 15. Comments can be submitted by mail, e-mail, fax or on the Web until that date.
(a) Electronically through the website at: www.BorderFenceNEPA.com;
(b) By email to: RGVcomments@BorderFenceNEPA.com;
(c) By mail to: Rio Grande Valley Tactical Infrastructure EIS, c/o e2M, 2751 Prosperity Avenue, Suite 200, Fairfax, Virginia 22031; or
(d) By fax to: (757) 282-7697.