Biden border crisis response: Assess damage to 'natural and cultural resources' in national parks

Cross-border drug and human trafficking have led to "thousands of miles of unauthorized roads and trails," disruption of "ecological processes and the migration patterns of wildlife," vandalizing and looting of important historic and archaeological sites, according to grant notice.

Updated: November 5, 2022 - 11:24pm

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The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just The News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government. The award is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s.

This week's Golden Horseshoe goes to the Department of the Interior for an estimated $275,000 in research funding under the Southwest Border Resource Protection Program to assess and monitor damage to wildlife, plant species and historical and cultural resources in national parks due to drug and human trafficking across the southern border.

"Several National Parks located along the U.S. border with Mexico have recently experienced serious resource damage due to illegal cross border activities including drug traffickers and undocumented persons traversing the parks," according to the grant notice posted by the National Park Service. "Other national park units within the desert southwest have also experienced impacts to their natural and cultural resources."

Wildlife, ecological systems, and cultural and historical resources have been negatively impacted at the border, according to the agency.

"Thousands of miles of unauthorized roads and trails have been created, major ecological processes and the migration patterns of wildlife have been disrupted, important historic sites have been vandalized, and archaeological sites have been looted," according to the synopsis of the funding opportunity.

Program funding will be awarded to applicants "conducting scientific research and monitoring of species, as well as conservation, interpretation and preservation projects designed to help protect and preserve natural and cultural resources located near or along our international border," the NPS specifies. "Applicants must work with and benefit an NPS unit in the Intermountain Region along the U.S.-Mexico border as well as a protected area in Mexico by addressing cultural or natural resource issues shared by both countries." 

Drug and human trafficking across the border have soared since Biden took office, leading to interlocking humanitarian crises marked by, among other things, historic highs of migrant deaths, an epidemic of U.S. overdose deaths from fentanyl, and unprecedented strain on public resources in border communities. A record 856 migrants died at the southern border in 2022, according to a Fox News report.

The National Park Service had not provided comment for this article as of its publication deadline.