Friday, August 15, 2008

US/Mexico border wall causes flooding O'odham territory

US/Mexico border wall increases risk to lives of Tohono O'odham during monsoon flash floods

Flash floods damage businesses and government offices in Arizona and Mexico after Homeland Security flaunts federal laws and builds border wall

By Brenda Norrell
LUKEVILLE, Ariz. - The risk to the lives of Tohono O'odham and other residents living on the Arizona and Sonora border due to monsoon flash floods has increased because of a newly constructed border wall. Homeland Security flaunted federal laws and the laws of nature to build the border wall in 2008.
In a report made public this week, the National Park Service details the ecological and infrastructure damage in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument caused by flood obstruction and debris accumulation along recently constructed portions of the border wall. Tohono O'odham and others reside in the area on both sides of the international border.
The report points out that the border wall resulted in the flooding of private businesses and government offices in both Lukeville, Arizona and the adjacent Sonoyta, Mexico.
The NPS report describes flash flooding from the July 12, 2008 monsoon thunderstom.
"Headquarters Wash flowed over 200 feet to the east along the pedestrian fence and through the international port of entry. It caused flood damage to private property, government offices and commercial businesses in Lukeville, Arizona, and Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico," the report states.
The NPS report describes how the faulty border wall design has increased flash flooding.
Flash floods during the monsoon season, July to September, claim lives as fast falling rain in thunderstoms skirts across the surface of the dry baked earth and causes fast and dangerous flooding each summer.
The NPS report states the damage was foreseen and Homeland Security was warned of the outcome. It states that, as predicted, the damage includes severe erosion and infrastructure damage. The damage included the movement of floodwaters and drainages behind debris obstructions into adjacent deserts and, in one case, through a border-crossing station.
Robin Silver at the Center for Biological Diversity said that an environmental analysis conducted by the Department of Homeland Security in 2007 concluded that the fence would "...not impede the natural flow of water." It would be "...designed and constructed to ensure proper conveyance of floodwaters and to eliminate the potential to cause backwater flooding on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border."
Further, Customs and Border Protection would "...remove debris from the fence within washes/arroyos immediately after rain events to ensure that no backwater flooding occurs."
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has since exempted the border wall from all environmental laws.
"The callousness displayed by Homeland Security in ignoring warnings to damage a national treasure is mind-boggling," Silver said.
"The border wall does not stop humans, but it will stop jaguars and other wildlife. It is already wreaking havoc on the southern part of Oregon Pipe National Monument."
"The contrast between the report findings and the environmental assessment displays the Bush administration's wholly meaningless approach to environmental analysis," Silver said. "The administration essentially did no analysis at all."
The Park Service report shows several instances in which debris collected in flash floods in south-flowing drainages caused natural resource and infrastructure damage and states that National Monument resources and infrastructure will continue to be impacted, as well as resources and infrastructure on neighboring lands in the United States and Mexico. The report anticipates the following short- and long-term impacts:
Accelerated scour below the pedestrian fence will damage the structural integrity of the vehicle barrier along the U.S./Mexico boundary unless continued maintenance occurs.
Floodwaters will flow laterally along the pedestrian fence and on the patrol road. These flows will result in erosion and scour above and below the foundation wall of the fence, including areas hundreds of feet outside existing drainage channels. As a consequence, the need for routine maintenance and repairs of the patrol road and vehicle barrier will increase..
"While the Bush administration may claim it's taking environmental impacts of the border wall into consideration, building wire mesh fences across washes prone to debris-laden floods is fundamentally flawed," Silver said. "It's time for Homeland Security to lift its embargo on environmental laws. The border fence does not stop humans. Now we have more proof if the wall's destruction of our national treasures.
The National Park Service said short- and long-term impacts expected due to the pedestrian fence include the following:
Accelerated scour below the pedestrian fence will damage the structural integrity of the vehicle barrier along the U.S./Mexico boundary unless continued maintenance occurs.
Floodwaters will flow laterally along the pedestrian fence and on the patrol road. These flows will result in erosion and scour above and below the foundation wall of the fence, including areas hundreds of feet outside existing drainage channels. As a consequence, the need for routine maintenance and repairs of the patrol road and vehicle barrier will increase.
The patrol road associated with the pedestrian fence will change vegetation in OPCNM by changing rainfall retention or runoff along the northern road edge.
Riparian vegetation will change in response to increased sedimentation.
Channel morphology and floodplain function will change over time.
Channelized waters will begin a gullying process that has the potential to transform land surfaces in the affected watersheds.
Read report at:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/borderlands_and_boundary_waters/pdfs/Flood_Report_July_2008.pdf Arizona Daily Star: Faulty Design turned Border Wall into Dam
http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/printDS/252889
Photo Credits: National Park Service/Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument flood report 2008

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The arrogance and stupidness of the white man against Nature since the Euros landed in the 1600 in the East will never cease to amaze me.

They wanted the lush park like land with bountiful trees and natural food suppply, they took it and moved us out with force and deceit.

They nearly wiped out the Native who had for centuries kept the land lush in its Natural cycles by rotating and following the food cycle then returning to the beginning and doing the same in the right Seasons. They say we abandoned the land and did not know how to take care of it, in fact the way they lived was the best for the Ecology.

They cut the trees and erected fences, cleared the land for farming and cultivation, they dammed the waters and changed directions of streams and built concrete jungles and dug into Mother Earth looking for Gold, now they are still making foolish mistakes in the name of Hatred to keep our Brown brothers out of their rightful place.

Now here it is 2008, and they haven't learned a damn thing with all their Education and Degrees....Think of this when you vote, think of what Bush done to the American Brown People, he is protecting white Euro Americans, are any of them LEGAL?

BEVERLY SAPCUT ISAAC
COMANCHEMOON

Censored News PayPal



Censored News depends on reader donations for live coverage. brendanorrell@gmail.com