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Starr County bird preserve to keep land wanted for border wall construction

4 weeks 2 hours 48 minutes ago Monday, September 20 2021 Sep 20, 2021 September 20, 2021 9:49 PM September 20, 2021 in News - Local

A hard-fought court battle is nearing its end for a wildlife preserve in Starr County. 

According to the Valley Land Fund, an environmental conservation organization and owners of the Salineno Bird Preserve, the wildlife habitat will not lose part of its land for border wall construction.

Valley Land Fund Director Debratee Garcia-Rodriguez said they got the good news from their attorney last week. He said they had to file a settlement notice, meaning they reached a deal with the government. 

The agreement allowed the Valley Land Fund to keep the entire preserve. Garcia-Rodriguez says that's a massive win for the environment.

"When you think of the Valley and how we only have 3 to 5% of native habitat," Garcia-Rodriguez said. "That's it is a big deal. Whether it's a bird and amphibian or the Texas tortoise, they need the habitat to survive in."

Garcia-Rodriguez says the preserve is home to over 70 different types of birds who rely on it for food and shelter. 

But even with this win for the Salineno, Garcia-Rodriguez says she wouldn't know if other people are safe from wall condemnation suits, adding that the government continues to take people to court for their land along the border.

As for the bird preserve, a judge's signature is the only thing left in the battle to keep the habitat.

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