Border wall construction impacts local AZ wildlife

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Construction along the U.S.-Mexico border remains on pause following President Biden’s temporary halt to border wall construction. Environmentalists say that damage to the region’s wilderness areas is permanent, however. Susan Lisovicz sat down with Laiken Jordahl of the Center for Biological Diversity to assess the damage.

Oregon Pipe National Monument Damage

The Oregon Pipe National Monument is located in Southern Arizona and shares a border with Sonora, Mexico. According to Jordahl, border wall construction has been an absolute disaster for wildlife in the area. “It’s been such a heartbreaking year for those of us who care about the borderlands in Arizona,” Jordahl said.

He says the entire southern end of the Oregon Pipe National Monument has been walled off from habitat in Mexico. “Oregon Pipe is this lush, beautiful part of the Sonoran Desert, where wildlife have evolved to migrate freely through the desert for millennia,” Jordahl said. Now, wildlife won’t be able to freely roam. They’ll be stopped by a wall. “It’s mystifying that so much damage could be done to a place that is designated wilderness all by one president, all for one ridiculous campaign promise,” Jordahl said.

Home to Unique Biodiversity

According to Jordahl, Oregon Pipe National Monument is the heart of the Sonoran Desert. “It’s the core protected habitat of the Sonoran Desert ecosystem in the U.S. and in Mexico. It makes up the largest protected area of Sonoran Desert habitat anywhere on planet Earth,” Jordahl said.

The Oregon Pipe National Monument is home to unique cacti, including the organ pipe cacti. These cacti don’t grow anywhere else in the U.S. except along this region. Endangered species, like the Sonoran pronghorn, depend on the land of the Oregon Pipe National Monument. “It is a place absolutely worthy of protection, so worthy of protection that Congress voted to designate it as wilderness,” Jordahl said.

Laiken Jordahl, Center for Biological Diversity

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