As it turns out, ignoring environmental laws and bedrock may not have been the best option for a multibillion dollar construction project. Photos show the former President Donald Trump's border wall in disrepair following summer monsoon rains that literally tore floodgates off of their hinges.
It occurred near San Bernardino Ranch. This historic site is located between Douglas, Arizona and the San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge. The West is currently suffering from a massive megadrought. However, the monsoon rains this summer that have swept across the Southwest have subdued the southern half Arizona with record-setting rainfalls. Douglas has received nearly twice the average monsoon rainfall, with a storm that hit Monday that caused flooding at the Arizona-Sonora border. According to the National Weather Service, 2.15 inches (5.5 centimeters of rain) fell. This in turn led to washes that drove flooding.
Jos Manuel Prezcant, director of Cuenca de Los Ojos non-profit, stated in an email that six gates had been washed out at this particular location. Others gates were also reported to have been affected by flooding and heavy rain. You can see the power and height of the water in the large gates that were ripped open, as well as the debris that was wrapped around the walls.
This could not have been predicted. Ah, yes, almost everyone.
Trump declared that he would build a wall and that no one builds them better than I. He also stated that he would build them inexpensively when he ran for president in 2015. I will build a wall at our southern border and make Mexico pay. You can trust me.
Mexico didn't actually pay for the wall. This led Trump to declare a national crisis to allow him to funnel money from federal programs and projects to construct the wall. The wall was not cheap, and the public was hit with huge cost overruns. However, it was a very cheaply constructed wall.
Trump ignored environmental and cultural protection laws in his rush to build the wall. These laws were intended to protect the natural environment and historic artifacts and sites. They also protect multibillion-dollar construction projects from catastrophic failures within a few year of completion.
Many of the work was outsourced, with many of these companies making billions. This included Southwest Valley Constructors which did the majority of the work in Arizona. Private landowners have filed lawsuits against the company, claiming that explosions related to construction brought car-sized rocks onto their property. The company has received $2.7 billion in federal contracts. OSHA has also filed numerous complaints against the company. One of the many chinks in this rushed wall is located near San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge. A section of Texas in which levees were demolished has seen hundreds of thousands more vulnerable to flooding.
Myles Traphagen (wildlands network coordinator), stated that it was clear that these companies were not taking long-term integrity into consideration. It is sad that the Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for it. The Army Corps has a rich and distinguished history... The environmental aspect of dam building can be a problem. Salmon and snail darters are both affected. The bottom line is that society has an economic net benefit, while the border wall is a total suck. None of this is good for us.
The future of the wall remains to be seen. President Joe Biden placed a moratorium on construction. Trump still managed to build 452 miles (727 km) of wall. This has caused an environmental disaster for one of North America's most fragile ecosystems. It is a place where wildlife from the tropics and deserts mix. Images taken during the construction of the iconic saguaros were razed. Numerous environmental impact statements also laid out the risks. Traphagen explained camera trap photos that his group took documenting everything, from rare jaguars to common Javelinas walking along the wall looking for a way around.
They may have found a passageway through the floods near San Bernardino. The monsoons, which have intensified in part due to the climate crisis, could rip apart more parts of the badly constructed wall. It is clear that the need for deeper reckoning and remediation is evident.
Traphagen stated that it is rare for an ecologist to be able to put a date stamp on the date that an area's evolutionary history was closed off. To reverse the course of events, the first step is to open the gates wherever they are and to take down sections of the border wall where they have the greatest impact on species movement and migration.