ACoE Invades South Texas

Photo caption: Snapshot from one of my trips to the Rio Grande — Big Bend National Park hot springs with with wild mustangs on the Mexican bank.

See also, Adios Compañeros – Jude Lieber

We knew this was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Trespassing on private soil, our own Army Corps of Engineers (ACoE) have begun clearing areas for the border wall. Rather than steal land legally through eminent domain, they have arrived without permission or notification.  Instead of cutting through ranchland, they have begun where it will hurt the most — nature preserves. The first location to fall beneath the saw, machete, and blade is a strip through the National Butterfly Center. Scientists had purchased the area from farmers and restored it with plant species vital to the survival of the threatened monarch butterfly. Now, only brown stubble remains. The wall will block the migration of thousands of land-based animals, cutting their territory in two.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says the region contains “a few remaining wild tropical cats like ocelots and jaguarundis. Ferruginous Pygmy-owl, Green jay, Elf Owl, Texas tortoise, Indigo snake and Mexican burrowing toad are also found in this region. Rare plants, especially in the cactus family like Albert’s black lace cactus, star cactus and Runyon’s cory cactus” still remain in the area, but “today, most of the region has been bulldozed, plowed or otherwise fallen victim to urbanization.”  Invaders from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the ACoE will now take away a large piece of the remaining wildlife habitat and sever migration lanes vital to the survival of these rare species.

To those who care nothing for plants or animals, this remains an egregious violation of property rights. Rather than follow legal channels, submitting the work to the Department of Justice, obtaining clearance, and providing notification to property owners, they have followed the plan of oil and gas developers throughout the country: build first, then settle the illegal construction in court. Sure there are lawsuits, payouts, and a protracted battle, but just as with pipelines such as the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline, the damage is done. There is no going back.

Soon the crews will move into neighboring Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge. The plans have been secretly assembled and will be implemented suddenly, without warning, to avoid an uprising like the one at Standing Rock. Congress has backed the venture with $20 million from taxpayers, so we are all responsible.

See also: Border Wall Protest

We can stop this if we elect environmentally conscious representatives to congress, especially in Texas.  Please go to Vote Adam Bell U.S Congress House of Representatives Texas District 3 and click the link to DONATE.

Adam Bell on Twitter

Texas Observer: National Butterfly Center Founder: Trump’s Border Wall Prep ‘Trampling on Private Property Rights’

NBC News: Border Wall Push Creates Flap in House — and at the National Butterfly Center

PBS NewsHour: Congressmen oppose Texas wildlife refuge as border wall site

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57 thoughts on “ACoE Invades South Texas”

  1. Thanks for posting. Sad and serious issue that few people who don’t live on the border understand. I did chuckle about the photo caption calling the horses in Mexico “wild” mustans as there are not wild horses, rather they belong to the Mexicans from Boquillas who clandestinely sell their curios on the hot springs trail.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Will people protest? Won’t your MoCs try to stop this? Are there actions such as calling our Congresspeople, or ArmyCorps, that we can take? This is a travesty, and action counts! Any info you can gather about who to call/fax etc, would be grest!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I suppose they are going to be allowed to do this. Our state government and our federal representatives and senators are quite accustomed to blowing hot air up voters’ skirts when it’s close to the election, and then they do nothing. Voters have been letting them get away with it for 40 years now, at least.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I thought the idea, according to trumpet, was to keep the drugs from falling on people’s heads and keeping rapist’s from crossing the border. I have yet to hear of ocelots or elf owls committing those crimes yet the wall will stop their survival. And, we know by statistics Mexican people are not the suspects, more white males rape than any other group, so why are these groups illegally pilfering land?

    It seems to me trumpet is once again going after the wrong group. It is the government agencies that do this work who should get slammed.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Why deal with facts, when the rhetoric plays for much better voter appeal. We need to keep out rapists and drug dealers and other presidents and congressmen and other members of organized crime. In principal I do not disagree with the need to secure our borders. But lets also go after the men at the top of the drug trade in America…. follow the money, you just might be surprised whom you catch.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confirmed to The Monitor that work had begun near the center but said it was limited to surveying, marking spots and taking some soil samples. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ contractor has not performed any clearing or tree removals in the vicinity of the subject location,” said Corps Spokesman Jim Frisinger.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The USACE did not do the clearing. A Department of Homeland Security contractor, Tikigaq Construction, was starting to clear a 1.2 mile stretch of road from the levee to the Rio Grande River, when I stopeed them. They were also widening the road. To this day, neither Tikigaq, Customs and Border Protection or DHS has provided us with proof of permission of right of way to do this work, much less a copy of the work plan, scope or schedule. Instead, I received a visit from the chief of the Rio Grande Valley sector of CBP explaining they would be back with “green uniform presence”. i.e. armed federal agents, to continue their work ahead of the border wall.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. To follow Marianna, click her name above and it will take you straight to her site. To follow me, scroll around on any page of my site and the Follow icon will appear in the lower right-hand corner. Click, and enter your email to receive notifications. I post about once a week. Thanks!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Has no one filed a lawsuit to stop this? Why are these people not being arrested for trespassing? Why are we rolling over and letting this happen?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. For the love of God, the wild life, the people, the whole earth, stop this un nessesary wall that upsets the the beauty and life that God put here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Maggie…are you the Maggie of Hill Country Pride fame? Been talking to George about coming down to play music on the 29th on South Padre Island with me.’re right on the money about the wall. It is nothing but problems. My vote is to immediately implement whatever legislation is necessary to stop ALL the MAGNETS that draw illegals in the first place. Border crossngs have dropped in half since Trump ordered the existing laws on the books to be enforced. Putting the magnet limitations in place would slow it down to barely a trickle in my opionion and that could be dealt with with present logistics. The only downside is that future poliical changes could undo the whole thing and the cycle would begin again. With the wall, its pretty much a done deal once its in place.


  7. Fight the Border Wall here and now 08-12-2017 in Mission, TX, and 07-23-2017 at the Santa National Wildlife Refuge.  Over 38 groups are participating and the City of Brownsville, TX, passed a 08-02-2017 resolution against the wall and all it stands for.

    Construction could start on a three mile segment of the wall in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas-Mexico border as early as this November 2017 — funded by US Customs and Border Protection.

    To help us stop this, attend, spread the word, and help support the local South Texas 08-12-2017 and 08-13-2017 actions against the wall.  Also, to make a donation, go to

    Border Wall Resistance Weekend Logistics: The bulk of the Austin/San Antonio, TX, riders will be back home Sunday evening.  The Texas Sierra Club is organizing rides from Austin and San Antonio to the Valley, but if you’re outside of these two areas and looking for a ride, contact Kristal Ibarra-Rodriguez, Volunteer Coordinator, at or call 939-216-9699 and they’ll connect you with a contact in your city.  For transportation and lodging assistance, fill out the online form at

    1) 08-12-2017 “Save the Mission! Save the River! Resist the Wall! ” march, rally and community picnic in Mission, TX:

    You do not have to walk in the procession to attend the rally. There is parking adjacent to La Lomita, so it’s just a short walk over, and we will have chairs available.

    The march starts at 7:00 am at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Mission (620 N Dunlap Ave)

    The rally starts at 9:00 am at the La Lomita Chapel in Mission followed by a community picnic from 10:30 am to 12:00 noon.

    Check the Facebook event page for updates:

    2) 08-13-2017 Protect Santa Ana Protest Hike at the Santa Ana Refuge, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

    Please bring plenty of water, sun protection and bug repellant. Please arrive promptly at 9, as we will begin the hike at 9:15. Signs are not necessary, as we will bring a banner. We will be asking people to photograph and video the hike in order to share the experience far and wide.

    See the Facebook event page at

    See the Refuge Facebook page at

    See the Refuge Internet page at

    See the “The Birds of South Texas” 8 minute video showing the Border Wall threat to the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge at 


    IN ADDITON:  We are also facing threats to our Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, our Bahia Grande (the largest wetlands restoration project in North America), our Loma Ecological Preserve, and a significant part of our Texas-Mexico wildlife corridor on our Gulf Coast (next door to South Padre Island, TX).

    Three LNG export companies are seeking Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permission to build and operate at our local Port of Brownsville there. In 2015, four communities in the area unanimously passed resolutions opposing LNG: Port Isabel, Laguna Vista, South Padre Island, and Long Island Village. The companies and the Port have ignored this strong and continuing local opposition to their LNG plans. In addition, the 168 mile long 48-inch diameter Valley Crossing Pipeline is being built across Cameron County to go under the Port’s ship channel, 150 feet under South Bay, across Clark Island, and then out to our Gulf waters headed towards Mexico with no prior public notice or public meetings.

    Learn more at saveRGVfromLNG (RGV = Rio Grande Valley; LNG = Liquefied Natural Gas) at

    Liked by 1 person

  8. interesting that the author chose a foto of the big bend, which is as close to south texas as is biloxi mississippi! 600 miles east of big bend is brownsville and mission, the towns being mentioned. west texas is very different from south texas. and, as noted above, the “wild mustangs” are work horses, the property of the ranchers on the other side of the river. all of which makes an interesting metaphor of how white americans often view border issues through a lens so thick that the reality is obscured

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sorry for the misinformation in the photo caption about the horses. Texas is big! I have explored the Trans-pecos, Edwards Plateau, Cross Timbers, Blackland Prairies, Pineywoods, and Gulf Coast Marshes. Unfortunately, I still haven’t gotten to visit the South Texas Plains, which is why I chose that picture instead of one more suitable to the area. I hope to see South Texas as well before urbanization spoils it completely.


  9. This is so DESPICABLE! Isn’t this illegal??? Besides spreading the word, I would love to be involved, but being retired on SS & little funds, what else can I do? This is the first I have heard of this. I know this needs to get shared, but we also need much more protest & this must be stopped!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great info everyone… great blog too. I tweeted a link to it and gave a heads up to news outlets to cover this..

    Btw JudeLieber, I’m touched by your ‘about me’ bio info, very touching. Sorry an employer didnt see your pov and overshot the ‘possible blowback’ mark acting out of fear and misunderstanding. Hate seeing bosses live in fear and act on that not stand tough if a wave of misplaced shame hits. Sheesh, modern life…

    You’re a good writer, thought I’d send this in case it’s of interest:

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a sad state of affairs. I have to wonder, do the folk that live along the border in Texas (and elsewhere of course) really want this? Do they really think it will help? Or is this just some political stunt that people that live no where near a border have latched on to, because of insecurities and fear?

    That will now bear fruit because of Trump and the Republicans…
    It’s a sad commentary on the state of the American People.


    1. See my comment below. Gerrymandering is real and must be stopped. Start supporting local Democratic candidates running for 2018, or put your own name on the ballot! Turn Texas blue!


  12. I have noticed that many people blame Texans for this debacle, calling us fascists and bigots. This is simply not true. The latest Gallup poll shows that only 42% of Texans support Mr. Trump, compared to 51% opposition.

    I am a proud Texan, a scientist, and an environmental activist. There is opposition in every major Texas city, but gerrymandering ensures we have no voice in politics. We are being held hostage by Republicans.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are more of us Republicans that want the wall than you. My President is not ignorant, worthless nor foul.He is also not ugly, rotting. Or a piece of corruption. If y’all would her off your high horses you see that OUR President has created more jobs out there than has been available in 16 yrs. That is just one of the things he has accomplished. I won’t give you the rest because I know that all of you know them. Y’all don’t want a better world and peace. But that’s your choice.


      1. Republican, Democrat or Independent doesn’t matter. 51% of Texans oppose Mr. Trump. His exclusionist philosophy is eating away at our unity as a nation. Here’s the irony: Trying to Unify the Nation by Putting “America First” and Excluding Members of Certain Groups Has The Opposite Effect. It Divides Us Because The Entire Nation is Composed of Separate Unique Groups.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    They came for the Native Americans at Standing Rock, and I did not speak out — because it wasn’t my water.

    Now they’ve come for our land and our endangered species . . .

    They came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

    With apologies (or thanks?) to
    Martin Neimöller

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so wrong. I am a proud Texan, a scientist, and an environmental activist. There is opposition in every major Texas city, but gerrymandering ensures we have no voice in politics. We are being held hostage by Republicans.


  14. Some sacrifice, to protect our lives, Instead of complaining, why not build more habitats for the animals, ya cry when it’s good and ya cry when it’s bad, there’s no pleasing everybody, ever.


    1. Whose lives are we saving? I would like to refer you a comment in this feed by Sherry. There are proportionately more white male rapists than Hispanic, pharmaceutical drugs are responsible for more deaths than illegal drugs, and Americans murder more Americans than terrorists. There are many ways $20 million could save more human lives than building a border wall. However, you are right about one thing. We do need to “build more habitats for the animals.” At what point has this administration suggested spending $20 million to save ocelots and elf owls?

      Liked by 3 people

  15. Just to rain on your parade, we still have plenty of jaguarundis 100 miles South of the DFW airport. If the fence eliminates them we can send them a few. How much other misinformation is in the post?


    1. I never said jaguarundis are endangered or even threatened. Maybe you wonder if the post contains misinformation because you didn’t bother to read the whole article or the links I provided as sources. I would add that Texas tortoises are a State Threatened species; Albert’s black lace cactus, star cactus and Runyon’s cory cactus are Federally and State Endangered; and monarch butterflies, the Official State Insect of Texas, have declined 90% in the last two decades. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. The wall will not happen. Many people will protest it with energy and cunning; others
    will agitate effectively to protect wildlife. The border is populated with efficient
    activists but the rest of the nation will join to protest such a nonsensical barrier.


  17. Thanks for talking about this. It’s a horror show. My grandfather founded Laguna Vista, TX, and while I haven’t lived in South Texas, I am very familiar with it. There’s something about this no one wants to talk about,and that is the real purpose of this wall is to control people coming into Mexico, not not people coming into the United States. Make America East Germany Again! Wow, man.


  18. The Mexicanos have already proven they are quite adept at building tunnels to cross into the USA for purposes of human and drug trafficking. The very idea that a wall is going to put an end to this is just ridiculous.


  19. When it is realized that this is more a monument to an ego than a wall against undocumenteds, when the yahoos who voted for this moron realize they sacrificed their health and welfare for this ego, maybe then we can get the US back on track to a civil society.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I’m really more than tired of people throwing statistics like buckets of water just to gain attention. It doesn’t look like either those for or against the Border wall know very much about what is going on. Alarmist techniques don’t help they hurt. Get your ducks in a row before you talk or print.


    1. Alarms save lives. Marianna Wright, who commented on this post, stopped Tikigaq Construction while they were cutting vegetation inside the National Butterfly Center on July 20. The only warning she had was the sound of chainsaws. I’m not sure what your “buckets of water” statement means, but urbanization has been a threat to the South Texas Brush Country for a long time, and conservation is necessary. You can find buckets of information on, who have been putting ducks in a row since 1895. If we ignore the alarms they have raised, then the loss of this unique ecosystem will be our fault.

      Liked by 3 people

  21. I was born in Beaumont, Tx and have traveled and written about the rio Grande for decades. Jude, you rock and thank you for your links to excellent information. I do not believe ALL Texans are blind to the lives and suffering of all living creatures and we will make the effort to protect what cannot protect itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. it is our duty to maintain and preserve the wild life and the green landscape to make this world ever pleasant. your contribution is immensely appreciated. Be blessed.

    one request kindly read my blogs. they are interesting. Read if possible my book STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART.published in May 2017. Available on Amazon .com usa/uk.


  23. …. but we would all love it if Obama had initiated the process, huh.
    I really like it when the game camera is connected to a claymore mine!


    1. This article was about preserving wildlife, not supporting Obama. I don’t play into personality cultism any more than I play into murder. Judge politicians based on their actions and the issues they support. I would vote for Trump if he restored the Wetlands Rule of 2015, enhanced stream protections, ended ethanol, oil, and gas subsidies, and wasn’t asking taxpayers to fund a pointless wall though a private wildlife refuge. While I often supported Obama, I called him out for needless deaths of detainees in “ICE Detention is Fatally Harsh.” Think through your joke about claymore mines. You could just as easily blow up a lost child or a CPB agent as you could an immigrant. Har har har. Take your murderous intent, shove it way down deep inside, and act like a human being.


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