fence will cut through ecologically sensitive border areas
The Nature Conservancy, which was among the leading opponents of the construction of the border fence near Brownsville in the Rio Grande Valley, has received nearly $1 million in payment for its 8.31 acres of land, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The border fence in that area will cut through what is called the Southmost Preserve.
State Nature Conservancy Director Laura Huffman says she would gladly give the money back to save the species which live in that delicate environment.
"It is no way recognizes the conservation losses that we are experiencing with a fence being built 700 acres into our preserve," Huffman said.
Some of the money will compensate farmers who suddenly find land they were farming located in the bizarre 'no man's land' between the fence and the border, land which is essentially foreign land in the United States.
"We have concerns about our ability to maintain the sable palm forest, which is one of the last intact sable palm forests in the world," Huffman says.
She wonders who will have access to the preserve, and whether the Border Patrol and other federal agencies will take over the land.
The payments end a nearly four year battle between the Natural Conservancy and the federal government over the border fence construction. Because of it's unique climate, the Rio Grande Valley is home to several rare species, and construction of a fence, with it's adjacent roads, gates, and Border Patrol staging areas, has become a serious controversy.