8197 - E2S2


8197 - E2S2

CBP Office of Finance

Facilities Management and Engineering

Environmental Stewardship for

Fence Construction Along the

Southwest Border of the United


Presentation to NDIA Environment, Energy &

Sustainability Symposium, 6 May 2009, Denver

Customs and Border Protection Mission

The priority mission of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is

homeland security. For the border agency charged with managing,

securing and controlling the Nation‘s border, that means the CBP priority

mission is to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the

United States.

An important aspect of this mission involves improving security both at and

between United States ports of entry, but it also means extending the zone

of security beyond the physical borders. This extended border strategy is

essential to creating smart borders and a layered defense-in-depth



Border Security Calculus

• Need the optimal mix of personnel, technology, and

infrastructure to achieve and maintain control of the border

– Tactical infrastructure (fence, roads, lights, etc)

– Technology (towers, cameras, sensors, etc)

– Improved rapid response through personnel (Border

Patrol, CBP Officers, Agriculture Specialists, and Air

and Marine Interdiction Agents)

• Fence and access road construction is just one element of

the effort


The Mission --- Congressional Mandate

to Secure the Borders

• Section 102 of the Secure Fence Act requires the

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to construct—in

the most expeditious manner possible—the infrastructure

necessary to deter and prevent illegal entry on our

Southwest Border, including pedestrian and vehicle fencing,

roads, and technology.

• The Secretary committed to completing 670 total miles of

fence by December 31, 2008.


Impacts from Cross Border Traffic

San Diego Otay Mountain Area Foot Trails


Impacts from Cross Border Traffic--Arizona


The Team


• U.S. CBP

• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

– Southwest Division

– South Pacific Division

• International Boundary and Water

Commission (IBWC)

• U.S. Department of Agriculture

– U.S. Forest Service

• U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)

– U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

– Bureau of Land Management

– Bureau of Reclamation

– National Park Service

• Contractors

– Gulf South Research Corporation

– engineering – environmental

Management, Inc. (e2M)


– Baker Engineering


Environmental Stewardship Milestones

Sep 07

Initiated formal

NEPA EAs and 2 EISs

For PF Phase II

Apr 09

PF & VF final amended

ESPs produced to capture

“as built” footprints

Feb 08

Completed all 8 EAs for

PF Phase I

Oct 08

Most ESPs Complete

Jul 07 Oct 07 Jan 08 Apr 08 Jul 08 Oct 08 Jan 09 Apr 09 Jul 09 Oct 09



Apr 08

Environmental and

Land Management

Waiver Signed

Jan 09

Programmatic MOA

With DOI signed

Jun 09

DOI to provide list of

Mitigation projects under MOA to

CBP for review/discussion


Fence on the U.S – Mexico Border


Environmental Compliance Actions


•National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

–CBP completed 8 Environmental Assessments (EAs) for PF225 Phase

I projects

–CBP completed another 10 Draft Environmental Impact Statements

(EISs) and Draft EAs for PF225 Phase II projects

•2 draft EISs (San Diego & Rio Grande Valley)

•8 draft EAs (San Diego (2), El Centro, Yuma, Tucson, El Paso,

Marfa, & Del Rio)

•National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106

•Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7


Challenges to Meeting the Congressional


•Time required for Section 7 consultations

–DOI permitting process exceeds 140 days

•Fence Construction in wilderness and refuge areas

–Wilderness and refuge laws limited the DOI land managers authority to

issue required access permits as compatible land use

•Risk of law suits


Secretary DHS Waiver – 1 April 2008

•Over 30 Federal laws waived including:



–Clean Water Act


–Wilderness Act

–National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act

–Migratory Bird Treaty Act


DHS Secretary Waiver - 1 April 2008

The Secretary’s commitment:

– “responsible environmental stewardship” and “minimize the effects of construction

on cultural, biological and natural resources wherever possible”

• ―DHS will conduct an ‗environmental review‘ before any major construction begins‖

• CBP completed Environmental Stewardship Plans (ESPs) to evaluate potential impacts to the

environment, identify Best Management Practices (BMPs) to avoid or minimize any negative

impacts and identify appropriate mitigations for unavoidable impacts.

– “solicit and respond to the needs of state, local, governments, Native American Nations, other

agencies of the Federal government, and local residents”

• Public meetings

• BorderFencePlanning.Com Web site

• Meetings with Native American Nations

• Letters to resource agencies; meetings with resource agencies

• Continued close coordination with Native American Nations, USFWS, DOI land managers, and


• Frequent meetings with stakeholders and land owners


CBP Environmental Stewardship Actions

Pedestrian Fence Projects

• 8 Phase I EAs

• 2 BOs

• 11 Phase II ESPs

• 7 Biological Resource Plans (BRPs)

• 2 Phase III ESPs

• 70 Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs)

• Biological and Cultural Resource monitoring of construction sites

Vehicle Fence Projects

• 10 ESPs

• 2 Phase III ESPs

• 3 BRPs

• Biological and Cultural Resource monitoring of construction sites

• Over 30 ESAs


Environmental Stewardship Plans and

Biological Resources Plans


CBP Environmental Stewardship

Actions Under the Waiver

•Developed extensive, project-specific BMPs for construction in close

coordination with USFWS

•Third party environmental monitors during construction to advise the

USACE project manager and help ensure BMPs and other provisions are

implemented properly

•Environmental awareness training for all construction crews

•Coordinated cultural resources reports and plans with State Historic

Preservation Offices, land managers, and Native American Nations

–Completed numerous archeological mitigations prior to construction


CBP Environmental Stewardship

Actions Under the Waiver

• Coordinated with the USACE regarding surface water and

wetlands impacts and potential mitigations

• Developed comprehensive programmatic agreement with

DOI/USFWS (Jan 2009)

• Developing potential mitigations with DOI (June 2009)

• Developing comprehensive environmental monitoring

protocol and plan with DOI (Summer 2009)


CBP Environmental Stewardship

Actions Under the Waiver

• Evaluated over 75 threatened and endangered species and

25 critical habitats across the border

• Identified and evaluated over 600 archeological and cultural

resource sites

–Over 50 sites mitigated before construction went forward

–In Arizona, 359 out of 370 miles of the border have been


–In New Mexico, 140 out of 160 miles of border have been



Most Common Best Management

Practices Challenges

•Maintain flagging/staking around the work site

•Proper silt fencing and maintenance

•Drip pans and clean up of oil spills

•General house keeping and trash

•Control of concrete wash water and concrete spills


Construction Challenges

•Rough terrain/construction safety

•Endangered Species

•Cultural and archeological sites

•Wetlands/Riparian areas

•Washes (monsoon flows)

•Soil stability


Environmental Stewardship Challenges

• Determining at what point the commitment to responsible

stewardship has been achieved

• Developed over 20 draft EAs and 2 EISs prior to 1 April

2008 Environmental Waiver

• Retooled and developed over 20 ESPs after the waiver

• Completed ESPs before construction would start

• Delays in real estate Rights of Entry

• Changing requirements and project footprint to respond to

stakeholder needs

• Coordination with resource agencies under waiver

• Defining appropriate mitigation for unavoidable impacts


Responding to Stakeholder Concerns

•Through continuous interaction with stakeholders, CBP

made numerous changes to fence style and footprint.


– ―Wildlife Panels‖ in New Mexico

– Animal passages in Rio Grande Valley

– Small animal gaps in El Paso

– Modified fence alignments to meet local landowner and City needs

– Developed ―floating fence‖ where digging would damage levees or

risk archeological sites

– Installed ―visually aesthetic fence‖ around a golf course and city park


The Bottom Line

• 602 miles of fence completed by 19 Jan 2009 across the

Southwest Border including legacy fence from past


• Construction on several segments continues in:

– Rio Grande Valley

– San Diego

• Meeting the commitment to environmental stewardship


Rio Grande Valley Sector Pedestrian

Fence and Levee Upgrade


Del Rio Sector Aesthetic Pedestrian



El Paso Sector Pedestrian “Floating”



El Paso Sector Pedestrian Fence with

Small Animal Gap


El Paso Sector Vehicle Fence with

“Wildlife Panel”


Tucson Sector Pedestrian Fence


Tucson Sector Vehicle Fence


Tucson Sector Vehicle Fence


Yuma Sector Vehicle Fence


El Centro Sector Pedestrian Fence


El Centro Sector Pedestrian

“Floating” Fence


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