Refuge Fragmentation

Ongoing refuge fragmentation continues unabated. LANWR (Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge) and its ocelot corridor is undergoing fragmentation due to pressures from heavy industry to the south on the Brownsville Ship Channel (BSC) and South Padre Island (SPI) real estate investors to the north.

Fragmentation can be illustrated if we think of LANWR as a loaf of your favorite banana nut bread. As private interests move into our area of Port Isabel/Laguna Vista/SPI for reasons of progress, the refuge area of the loaf is sliced off a piece at a time, or from one end or the other, or sliced down the middle for economic “advancement”.

Thus, instead of a continuous or contiguous LANWR, we have smaller separated tracks/slices of refuge with more edge. The increased edge/exposure will cause the banana bread loss of moistness and through crumbling will become unpalatable to all but the most separately hungry.

The ocelot corridor to the south of LANWR is threatened by Annova LNG. This prior environmental lease to the US Fish & Wildlife Service by the Brownsville Navigation District (BND) was denied and leased instead to Annova. Other proposed LNG export terminals (Texas LNG, Rio Grande LNG) across the BSC will also contribute to a noncontiguous ocelot corridor.

To the north, the ocelot corridor to LANWR will be severed due to a proposed toll road/bridge to access the island for more real estate development of SPI. So, LANWR a national refuge and one of the largest contiguous refuge areas in the U.S. is being diminished in its effectiveness and mission, and the ocelots have been doomed to extinction by “private interest” economic advancement.

Is the “pro-environment talk” easy until big money interests come to town promising new and better economic booms for the speculators to fill their pockets?

Diane Teter Laguna Vista