Border-fence design exacerbated flooding along U.S.-Mexico border
The hastily built new fence along the U.S.-Mexico border has apparently exacerbated flooding in parts of Arizona and Mexico due to poor fence design. Environmentalists and others had warned the Department of Homeland Security that rushing border-fence construction could cause eco-troubles, but Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff nonetheless waived applicable environmental laws last year in order to speed the fence’s construction. On July 12, a flash flood at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and surrounding areas was made worse by water redirected from debris-laden mesh fences that backed up natural water flows and caused substantial erosion to some of the fence’s foundation. Earlier this month, a report by Organ Pipe monument’s staff found that the fence didn’t meet Army Corps of Engineers hydrologic standards, but environmentalists said that the poor design was self-evident even before the report. “It doesn’t take an expert hydrologist to anticipate the potential for these walls to become like dams,” said Matt Clark of Defenders of Wildlife.