President Trump’s “big, beautiful wall” along the US-Mexico border aims to keep out undocumented border crossers, but the new barrier will also keep in wildlife species that need to migrate back and forth and bisect rare habitats. In South Texas, where most of the recently authorized wall segments are going up, these new walls and patrol roads are slicing through one of the most biologically diverse areas on the continent—the Lower Rio Grande Valley—and scientists, conservationists, and local officials worry about how they’ll affect the environment and ecotourism in this economically depressed region.
Planned barriers along the Rio Grande could trap debris and send floodwaters into nearby communities.
As the first sections of Trump's wall go up in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, one of the best birding spots in the country, nature tourism is down in what should be a banner year.
Trump’s border wall cuts through the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. The wall will disrupt preserved habitat critical for the survival of ocelot, jaguarundi, and more.