[CT Birds] Extralimital: ABA Blog Post re: Santa Ana NWR

mresch8702 at aol.com mresch8702 at aol.com
Sat Jul 22 15:39:01 EDT 2017

A few comments on the border wall related to its hydrogeological impacts, an issue that few seem to be talking about (regardless of what one's politics may be) - 

In addition to the obvious impacts to terrestrial habitats and the species that call them home, the construction of the border wall could have significant impacts on the hydrogeology in the area.  Remember for the TX portion of the wall it would be built a short distance from the Rio Grande River.  Surface water in streams/rivers that would typically flow from TX into the Rio Grande have to be able to truly reach the Rio Grande.  Similarly, any rivers, or dry river beds, that cross the international border to the west, have to be able to convey their surface water south or north across the border (yes some rivers flow north from Mexico to the US).  That is as long as you want to maintain the hydrogeology of the area.  However, much of what has been written about the wall would make it sound like it needs to be a an impervious wall that would basically act like a dam - a 2,000-mile long dam just inside the US/Mexico border.  If the wall is designed to allow for river water to flow through it, not to mention convey significant flood waters that can occur in the desert southwest, then one would wonder how impervious the wall would be to potential immigrants.  In other words, can the wall be designed to be both impermeable to immigrants and permeable to surface waters?

Then consider when the Rio Grande is in flood stage.  Under normal flood conditions the river waters flood US lands, Mexico lands, or both (depending on local geography).  If the wall is built as an impermeable dam, then there is no opportunity for flooding of US lands, increasing flooding on the Mexico side - the water has to go somewhere.  Again changing local hydrogeology, not to mention potential for loss of life or property in Mexico.

And any change in the surface hydrogeology can impact the groundwater conditions in the area.  Damming of surface water on the upstream side of the wall can increase groundwater recharge at that location, at the expense of groundwater recharge in the areas that were prevented from receiving the surface water.  For those who use groundwater as their water source near the border, even small changes in groundwater depths and quality can have significant impacts.
Then consider water rights along the Rio Grande.  There are many users of surface water of the Rio Grande on the TX side of the river.  Would these TX users still have access to those waters after the wall is built?

A good summary of these and related issues is provided in this article -  https://www.newsdeeply.com/water/community/2017/04/24/trumps-border-wall-could-have-lasting-effect-on-rivers-water-supply

Mike Resch 
Pepperell, MA

-----Original Message-----
From: Nick Bonomo via CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
To: CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Sat, Jul 22, 2017 6:43 am
Subject: [CT Birds] Extralimital: ABA Blog Post re: Santa Ana NWR

In case this has not yet been posted here, please read the link below,
to the American Birding Association blog, regarding the potential
effects of a border wall through the refuge. If you feel inclined,
there are ways to voice your opinion via our local senators and reps.


I'll take any heat for posting something happening outside of CT or
involving politics.

Nick Bonomo
Wallingford, CT

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