By now even the slightest breeze shakes them.
(“Who knows what’s rustling around in the brush?” they whisper among themselves nervously.)
To arms! To arms!
(Uh, maybe that’s: To fronds? To fronds!)
They are firmly planted, but unsure about their future.
Soon Max Pons, their guardian, will be forced to leave them after 18 years. Their caretaker for 10.
Authorities are even moving his house to make sure he goes.
Researchers won’t wander among what is boasted to be one of the world’s ecologically diverse tracts. Those lodgings will be locked and abandoned.
Although, no doubt, Coyotes will lead their packs to shelter there. (No, not the benign animal kind.)
They will be left alone.
In a no man’s land.
Some gated community this.
It appears they ended up on the wrong side of the tracks: the insult!
No fault of their own!
They have stood for what they stand for:
Only one of two large (over 100 acres) protected native Mexican Sabal Palm groves remaining in the U.S.
Uniqueness is always in demand.
And a temptation for the desperate and lawless.
Those unprotected rainforests haven’t fared so well.
(None of them want to get jerked out of their home and plopped into odd suburban landscapes.)
Their safety should have been secured.
The land bought in 1999 by The Nature Conservancy is a ”unique pristine area made up of really interesting geological formations” according to Pons.
He supervised the native plant nursery. Sharing the message with others who came.
The preserve demonstrated sustainable farming combining crops and endangered native plants.
A happy little enclave, now abandoned.
Who’s helped by the border fence?
Why is it built so far inside the US border?
Scott Nicols of the No Border Wall organization protested. Their organization opposed building closer to river because it would separate wildlife from their migration routes and habitats. (OK. Even wolves have a right to roam…although there are those who question the javelinas.)
The official international group that regulates flooding potential along the Rio Grande Valley voiced concerns that the fence would collect debris and increase flooding in the flat Rio Grande floodplain
A mandate was given that whatever was built must be something that could be dragged out of the floodplain within 72 hours of notice.
Everyone, including Nichols, thought that would stop the fence.
After 5 years of battle, the walls are not torn down, but closing.
A recent settlement will pay the Nature Conservancy compensation only for land the fence is actually on: 8.31 acres.
It pays for a stripe of land crossing the northern edge of the property.
Fragmenting the 1,034 acres of the preserve.
Closing off 800 acres south of fence. (3/4 of the preserve)
Endangering fragile habitat for Texas’ at risk wildcats: the ocelot and jaguarundi.
No longer available for honest responsible people: hikers, researchers, school groups, bird watchers searching the preserve’s jungle, people wanting to learn sustainable farming suitable for the region, or those wanting to learn about using native plants in landscaping.
Law abiding citizens and visitors who probably won’t dare tunnel under or use a ladder to scale the 18 foot fence.
Closed even to those who own the land and seek to protect it.
Basically giving up the land.
The fence is a mile and a half inside the U.S. border.
But the fence keeps us safer!
Says Homeland Security! That’s who!
Just an illusion like at airports?
Trust us. Don’t worry!
My palms are a little sweaty.
Other plants are nervous, too.
If they so quickly gave away that parcel, what’s next?
Simply a question heritage landowners along the border are asking,
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.
“Feds pay preserve $1 million for border fence”. Houston Chronicle. (Aug. 8, 2012)
“Texans on wrong side of border fence grow anxious” Daily Herald (Feb. 2012)
Watch VIDEO. “Threatened Treasure” of Texas Lennox Foundation Southmost Preserve. See the US land with rare old growth palm stand and facilities that have been fenced off and are at risk.
Article: More about the preserve often called the “Jewel of the Rio Grande Valley”
NPR “Nature Conservancy Fights Planned Border Fence”. Good background information in article. Listen to program.