COLUMBUS, N.M. — The 1.5-mile barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border was designed to keep cars from illegally crossing into the United States. There's just one problem: It was accidentally built on Mexican soil. Now embarrassed border officials say the mistake could cost the federal government more than $3 million to fix.A small price to pay, really, what, with current estimates on the virtual border wall project (if they get it "right" the first time around) up to cool $30 billion dollars.
But what about our border to the north? So much for homeland security.
In Texas, the opposition to the wall is gaining momentum. Even The Nature Conservancy (usually staunchly apolitical) is starting to speak out about the devastating ecological effects the wall would have on their "Southmost Preserve."
The preserve hums with the energy of wildlife. Rare birds provide a soundtrack; butterflies flit in and out of the brush; ducklings splash in the water.
"It would be a real shame to lose this natural history," said Najera, a program manager with the Nature Conservancy, which acquired the 1,034-acre preserve just east of Brownsville in 1999.
The conservancy farms a portion of the land, but its main work is restoring the native Tamaulipan thornscrub habitat that is vanishing as the Valley becomes urbanized. The preserve, on the northernmost edge of a biological province that's mostly in Northeast Mexico, is home to one of two remaining large stands of native Mexican sabal palms in the United States.
The Texas tortoise, the Texas indigo snake and other threatened species live here. The Altamira oriole, black-bellied and fulvous whistling ducks, the chachalaca and Couch's kingbird, among many other birds, can be found in the wooded groves and in the tranquil wetlands.
Red-winged blackbirds and the scarlet blooms of Turk's cap provide some of the many flashes of color.
Sounds like a great place worth saving to us.