/ Modified jan 12, 2022 4:10 p.m.

DHS wants public input over border wall remediation

The federal government released an interactive document showing how rugged border wilderness has been impacted by the border wall.

360 douglas border wall tall A stretch of border fencing east of Douglas constructed as part of President Trump's initiative to erect a taller wall along the southern border. November 2020.
Lorraine Rivera

Customs and Border Protection is asking for public input on a plan to address problems caused by border wall construction in Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties.

This month, CBP released an interactive document showing how rugged border wilderness in the counties, most of which is public land, has been impacted by the Trump administration’s 30-foot steel border wall. It said new construction contracts would be given for remediation projects and asked for input about how to address things like erosion control and vegetation damaged by construction.

Myles Traphagen with the conservation nonprofit Wildlands Network says it doesn’t give him much hope.

"The maintenance of roads, the building of structures to make sure that patrol roads do not erode away, that’s what really appears to be the main objective here, and not one of trying to restore our wild borderlands," he said.

Traphagen says he was also disappointed not to see more information about how or if the Department of Homeland Security plans to address gaps in the former administration's wall project. The agency mentioned closing small gaps in the wall in an announcement about the upcoming remediation work last December, but Traphagen says no new details have materialized.

"That is the million dollar question everyone is asking now," he said. "What do they mean by a gap? Where are these gaps? Is this something that is going to cut of crucial wildlife migration routes, or interfere with water flow of naturally flowing streams along the border?"

Traphagen’s group was one of several organizations who received an email with the document and the request for input.

CBP is accepting comments via email to TucsonComments@cbp.dhs.gov until Feb. 3 and said input would be incorporated into the remediation plan. An agency spokesperson said they’ll be made publicly available after that.

Fronteras Desk
Fronteras Desk is a KJZZ project covering important stories in an expanse stretching from Northern Arizona deep into northwestern Mexico.
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