Critics say U.S.-Mexico border fence could threaten wildlife, cause flooding

The U.S. government is moving forward with plans to build 700 miles of fencing along the Mexican border, but opposition is swelling faster than the Rio Grande after a rainstorm. This week, the International Boundary and Water Commission said the fence could not only cause flooding but could, in effect, redraw the U.S.-Mexico border, which lies in the middle of the river. Oopsy! Farmers are concerned about the project’s effects on irrigation, and local businesses fear it will offend Mexican investors and customers. And wildlife advocates worry about the damage it will cause to a 90,000-acre string of refuges, noting that it would block routes that ocelots and other animals use for drinking and mating. (Can’t they just build a Hooters for that?) The whole thing, says Carter Smith of The Nature Conservancy, is “incongruous with a 30-plus-year investment by the federal government, the citizens, and the landowners of the Rio Grande Valley who have worked hard to protect their special land and waters.”