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Report: Border Wall Contractor Sucked 1.5 Million Gallons Of Water From Protected Wetland

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report shows that border wall contractors are depleting water from natural ponds in the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona.

The  report was prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and used information gathered from last winter to last spring in the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Arizona. 

The refuge is a 2,400-acre marshland used as a corridor for wildlife from Mexico to the Rockies. And the border wall construction was running that wetland water level low.

Jacob Malcom is director of the center for conservation innovation at the nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife. He obtained the report. It’s a statical report that shows contractors sucked nearly 1 and a half million gallons of water from the region in a two-week period in February alone. 

"The pumping of the well for border wall is dropping the aquifer which means that the water that feeds the wetlands is dropping," Malcom said.

In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman confirmed that the border wall construction in the area correlated with a drop in the aquifer well and that the border wall contractor is currently installing higher capacity pumps. She said so far, the ponds remain intact.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.