Thousands of ranchers and landowners who are represented by the conservative Texas Wildlife Association are speaking out against the construction of a large section of proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico.
A 151 mile tract of land — with a height of about 30 feet — is at the heart of the issue. The area is known as “Big Bend.”
The Texas Wildlife Association represents roughly 10,000 landowners managing 40 million acres of ranches and hunting leases throughout Texas. David Yeates, the Chief Executive of the TWA, spoke to the Star-Telegram of Forth Worth:
“We just see so many problems,” Yeates said. In addition to the obvious loss of private property through imminent domain, he also said the wall would “interrupt landowner/livestock/wildlife access to water from the Rio Grande, harm property values, and impair critical wildlife movement corridors for species such as black bears, mountain lions, white-tailed and mule deer, and desert bighorn sheep, among others.”
Mr. Yeates asked:
“Does somebody want to buy a ranch that has a big wall across it and property stranded on the other side, and no access to the river, which is the only water in some places?”
The TWA chief also points out that because of costs, avoidance of flood plains, and other circumstances — much of the wall would be built as far in-state as one mile: “leaving homes, ranchland, watering holes, golf courses, nature preserves and anything along the river stranded past a Border Patrol gate. If you take away access to the Rio Grande, you take away the water for 50,000 acres of irrigated farmland, not to mention the drinking water for cattle and migratory path for wildlife.”
The Star-Telegram goes on to quote a Texas wildlife biologist, Louis Harveson of the Borderlands Research Institute, who calls the wall, “ill-conceived.”
One thing is certain: whatever should be the fate of the border wall, it is effectively separating Donald Trump from members of his own base.