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From the August edition of the Birding Community E-Bulletin:

BEYOND SANTA ANA NWR
 
As we reported previously, when the 2,232-page omnibus spending bill was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in March, it contained a short sentence referencing ongoing border-wall construction: "None of the funds provided in this or any other Act shall be obligated for construction of a border barrier in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge." Thus, the immediate threat of a wall at Santa Ana NWR, a prime birding destination for anyone looking for "South Texas Specialties," was lessened.
 
But as we suggested in April, "the threat still looms for other Lower Rio Grande Valley locations like the National Butterfly Center, Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park, La Lomita chapel, and home-and-farm properties owned by individuals along the Rio Grande."
 
With the current plan for new border wall construction, there will be a segment of approximately 25 miles of obtrusive levee walls, bollard walls, 150-foot enforcement zones, and surveillance cameras. It is expected that once the wall is finished, all of Hidalgo County could be walled off from the Rio Grande River, with the exception of 3.3 miles through Santa Ana NWR.
 
The situation may be more dire in the case of Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park. In the original deed of conveyance for the land from the Bentsen family to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1944, various "Use Restriction(s)" were stipulated whereby any breach of "public park purposes," including if it "is not so maintained, designated and operated . . . for the use and benefit of the public, then the title to such land shall revert" back to the "Grantors," in this case the Bentsen family.
 
There are also many parcels of property of the Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR, established in 1979 and sister-refuge to Santa Ana NWR,that are close to the river and could be "locked away." Most of these individual refuge properties are not accessible to the public at this time. Nonetheless, building the wall would certainly bring an end to their potential opening, and also limit effective management of wildlife.
 
The integrity of other properties, such as the National Butterfly Center, is also clearly at risk.
 
For more information about some of these ominous possibilities, see:
https://netargv.com/2018/07/26/texas-may-forfeit-bentsen-state-park-to-feds-for-border-wall/


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            Mass Audubon
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            Great Birding Projects           
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Relayed by Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ABA Birding Code of Ethics
http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html
ASM Fall Meeting: September 28-30, 2018 in Columbia
Details and online registration at: http://www.mobirds.org/ASM/Meetings.aspx