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On the border, stadium lighting could threaten night skies of conservation lands

Southern Arizona is known for its scenic landscapes, diverse ecosystems and dark night skies.

But conservationists say that those skies could be blotted out by a system of stadium lights on the border.

A report by the Center for Biological Diversity found that government contractors have installed 1,800 lights on conservation lands near the border.

So far, the lights have not been turned on, but conservationists say they could disrupt wildlife navigation, migration and reproduction.

Emily Burns of the Sky Island Alliance, a Tucson-based nonprofit, says that in some areas the lights are still being wired.

"If those lights get turned on it will be a huge problem, for the dark sky quality that many of these birds and bats need in order to follow their historic migration routes," she said.

The lights have been installed at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the San Pedro River Riparian National Wildlife Refuge, the San Bernardino

Valley and San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge.

Ron Dungan has lived in Arizona for more than 35 years. He has worked as a reporter, construction worker, copy editor, designer and freelance writer. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the undergraduate Writers’ Workshop, and has a master’s in history from Arizona State University.Dungan was an outdoors reporter and member of the storyteller team at the Arizona Republic, where he won several awards, and was a contributor on a border project that won the 2018 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting.When not working, Dungan enjoys books, gardening, hanging out with his German shorthaired pointer, backpacking and fly-fishing. He's a fan of the Arizona Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes.