We human animals are jealous.

Jaguar/File photo Thinkstock

Bats, bighorn sheep, jaguars, agave and other plant and wildlife that thrive along the U.S.-Mexico border are getting $50 million to make the habitat a better place.

Well, we do need to be fair about all this. The border flora and fauna would not need all this cash if our man-made border security measures were not screwing up their habitat to begin with.

That 650 miles of fence Customs and Border Protection installed over the last three years can’t be all that non-invasive.

The $50 million overall project kicks off with the first inter-agency agreement between U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of the Interior, signed Sept. 28, which doles out a $6.8 million installment, according to a joint news release from CBP and DOI.

“The initial mitigation projects include funding to restore habitat for lesser long-nosed bats in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona; re-establish the Aplomado falcon in New Mexico; install a fish barrier at San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona, to preclude competition with invasive species; study movement of bighorn sheep in California; survey and monitor jaguars and their habitat in Arizona,” the release notes.

Specifically, the first round of projects include:

a. Sasabe Biological Opinion, AZ: $2,119,000
b. Organ Pipe Cactus NM Biological Opinion, AZ: $980,000
c. San Bernardino Valley Mitigation, AZ: $657,480
d. Rio Yaqui Fish Studies, AZ: $441,250
e. Peninsular Bighorn Sheep Study, CA: $230,000
f. Coronado NM Agave Restoration, AZ: $274,873
g. Northern Aplomado Falcon Reintroduction/Habitat Restoration, NM: $499,700
h. Border-wide Bat Conservation, AZ: $925,000

The projects are part of the 2009 Memorandum of Agreement between CBP and the DOI “for mitigation of unavoidable impacts to natural and cultural resources due to construction of border security infrastructure.”

We applaud both CBP and DOI for paying attention to the wildlife – and especially dig the bat conservation – but a couple of the projects do sound a bit fishy.

Actually, anything labeled “study” or “opinion,” like the Rio Yaqui fish studies, tends to raise some questions. They bring to mind another agency’s in-depth “study” to find out if coyotes really ate cats.

We are also glad none of the projects are aimed at preserving buffelgrass.

Now if only such care could be taken with the United States’ interior before the next patch of land is razed for yet another strip mall.


What do you think?

Do we need more strip malls?

Do you find the wildlife projects along the border vital or unnecessary?

Does man wreck everything he touches?