Read the full story in the Washington Post. See also:
- National Butterfly Center Founder: Trump’s Border Wall Prep ‘Trampling on Private Property Rights’ in the Texas Observer.
- The ecological disaster that is Trump’s border wall: a visual guide in Vox.
- Cat fight: Inside the struggle to save the latest migrants crossing the U.S./Mexico border in Pacific Standard.
On dusty land in Mission, Tex., near the Mexican border, Marianna Trevino Wright recently took a walk with a contractor. She was showing off her effort to turn the earth surrounding the National Butterfly Center into “an oasis for butterflies,” she said — with 10,000 native milkweed plants that a dwindling number of monarch butterflies use as habitat in their arduous and yearly migration from Mexico and across the United States to Canada.
But the yellow that caught her eye that day wasn’t the fluttering wings of butterflies. It was heavy machinery that mows vegetation, said Wright, executive director of the butterfly reserve. And men were taking soil samples on the center’s property. “I said, ‘Hey guys what you’re doing?’ They said, ‘Working.’ I said, ‘On what?’ They said, ‘Clearing the land.’ I said, ‘You mean my land.’ They said, ‘We’re going to have to call our supervisor.’”
The Department of Homeland Security sought a waiver from environmental regulations this month to build a section of border wall near San Diego. But 1,500 miles away in Texas, the Trump administration is working on another section that could block migrating butterflies and cut across the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, one of the most treasured spots for birdwatching in the country and a “crown jewel” in the federal refuge system. Wright unknowingly walked right into that effort.