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How are DHS and CBP committed to being "good stewards" of the land if they are waiving laws enacted to protect the environment and wildlife?

How are DHS and CBP committed to being "good stewards" of the land if they are waiving laws enacted to protect the environment and wildlife?

CBP is committed to building, operating, and maintaining tactical infrastructure along the Southwest Border in an environmentally responsible manner. Although certain laws have been waived to meet the congressional mandate to build tactical infrastructure, DHS isn't compromising its commitment to responsible environmental stewardship, or its commitment to solicit and respond to the needs of State, local, and Native American governments, other agencies of the Federal government, and local residents. The preservation of our valuable natural resources is of great importance to DHS, and we are fully engaged in efforts that consider the environment as we work to secure our Nation's borders.

CBP included environmental considerations in all aspects of the life-cycle of the fence. During initial planning, potential environmental impacts were considered as fence styles and locations were altered where possible to minimize any impacts. CBP prepared required NEPA documents prior to the waiver and then prepared ESPs after the waiver was issued to guide project planning. CBP developed comprehensive Best Management Practices (BMPs) that were closely coordinated with the USFWS and were included in the construction contracts to avoid or minimize adverse impacts.

Construction crews received environmental awareness training prior to construction regarding sensitive natural and cultural resources in the project corridor. CBP provided 36 environmental awareness training sessions to construction crews prior to any construction activities taking place. CBP further contracted for and provided more than 90,000 labor hours of subject matter monitors during construction activities. These monitors were on site during construction activities to track and record implementation of BMPs, report any issues that could pose an environmental risk, recommend corrective actions, and manage any wildlife encountered during construction.

CBP will continue to be good stewards of our valuable natural and cultural resources for the lifecycle maintenance and repair of the tactical infrastructure. CBP is including the BMPs in all maintenance contracts and maintenance contractors will receive environmental awareness training.

Arizona's Barry M. Goldwater Range, the object of an earlier waiver, where DHS is funding mitigation and recovery efforts for the endangered Sonoran Pronghorn and lesser long-nosed bat, is just one example of how this is already being accomplished.

In the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation area in southern Arizona, also the object of an earlier waiver, DHS has made several changes to reduce the impact of fencing. In addition, DHS is implementing a number of measures to reduce and monitor invasive plant species, erosion and sediment problems, and spent more than $1 million to mitigate two archeological sites in the conservation area.