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ESAblawg is an educational effort by Keith W. Rizzardi. Correspondence with this site does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Photos or links may be copyrighted (but used with permission, or as fair use). ESA blawg is published with a Creative Commons License.

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florida gators... never threatened!

If you ain't a Gator, you should be! Alligators (and endangered crocs) are important indicator species atop their food chains, with sensitivity to pollution and pesticides akin to humans. See ESA blawg. Gator blood could be our pharmaceutical future, too. See ESA musing.

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Follow the truth.

"This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Roscoe, December 27, 1820.

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Thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN S. PETTITT helped found this blawg. A D.C.-based IT consultant specializing in Lotus Notes & Domino, he also maintains Lotus Guru blog.

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Border security vs. wildlife?

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Founders' Note:  Announcing the first blawg entry by an ESAblawg Contributor.  Pete David, a former colleague -- and still a friend -- is a wildlife biologist and consultant living in New Mexico, and he will be periodically contributing to the ESAmusings on these pages.  Welcome, Pete!  P.S.  I note the irony of  the biologist putting footnotes in my blawg!

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Since the early 1990s, the U.S. Border Patrol has significantly increased enforcement efforts along the U.S.-Mexico border in an attempt to reduce illegal immigration. These efforts focused on the more heavily populated border areas, which shifted border crossing and drug trafficking to more remote pristine and ecologically significant areas, much of it public land that was set aside to protect sensitive wildlife and habitat. Future potential enforcement-related activity in these remote areas including increased ORV patrols, walls, and fences could have a profound negative impact on wildlife that use these corridors to safely cross the border. The regional survival of rare wildlife populations such as jaguar, ocelot, Gila monster, and desert tortoise may be threatened if border security measures are implemented without proper planning given to wildlife corridors. In addition, long-term recovery efforts of Mexican wolves, desert bighorn sheep, and Sonoran pronghorn (estimated at only 21 animals in 2002) (see footnote 1) in the U.S. may be impeded if barriers restrict range expansion and genetic exchange.

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Photo from U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The Southwest Border Strategy adopted in 1994 and subsequent legislation (Homeland Security Act of 2002) failed to fully address environmental impacts or encourage coordination of Homeland Security with other land management agencies (footnote 2). To remedy this situation, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and 23 other representatives have co-sponsored a bill called Borderlands Conservation and Security Act of 2007 (HR 2593). The bill was introduced in June 2007 and has since been referred to the House Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism. The purpose of the bill is “to secure and conserve Federal public lands and natural resources along the international land borders of the United States, and for other purposes.” The bill repeals provisions in the Homeland Security Act, which waived NEPA and other regulatory compliance that would have examined the environmental impacts from fences, walls, vehicle restraining devices or other actions to be employed along the border. Specifically, the bill will: 1) provide Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with data that can be used to implement the most effective method of security; 2) allow local, state and federal land management agencies, and tribes to have input in the decision-making process; 3) require compliance with all U.S. environmental laws; and 4) fund initiatives to mitigate for border activities that are detrimental to wildlife and natural resources.

Submitted by Pete David.

Footnote 1: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological and Conference Opinion for the International Boundary Vehicle Barrier on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Phoenix: July 2003) p. 17.

Footnote 2: GAO, Federal Lands Report p. 35

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