MISSION, Texas (Border Report) — Construction crews were moving sand and dirt and smoothing the ground Friday at the base of a controversial private border wall in South Texas, which suffered erosion after punishing winds and rain struck the region with Hurricane Hanna last month.
A Wednesday court hearing with U.S. District Judge Randy Crane of the Southern District of Texas, in McAllen, was postponed until next month to allow repairs to the ground area, Tommy Fisher, CEO of Fisher Sand & Gravel Company told Border Report last week.
Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice last year brought a lawsuit against Fisher on behalf of the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission to stop construction of the private border wall, which they claim violates an international river treaty with Mexico. Federal prosecutors claim that if there were to be a catastrophic weather event, like a hurricane, then water could deflect at a rate of up to 10.3%, which they say doubles the amount allowed by the treaty.
Parts of Mission received 15 inches of rain after the Category 1 hurricane struck on July 26 on the Gulf Coast and then made a slow slog on a southwestern trajectory over the Rio Grande Valley. But the actual 18-foot-tall galvanized steel metal bollard fence did not fall down or suffer damage, Fisher said.
However, ground erosion was visible, according to parties who are involved in the lawsuit and who on Monday toured the area. The National Butterfly Center, which is located nearby and has brought a lawsuit against the private border wall, posted photos on social media showing large gaps beneath the base of the wall, holes in the muddy ground and gullets.
On Friday, dirt movers could be seen driving up and along the southwestern stretch of the three-mile private border, which is on private land and was partially funded by crowdsourcing from We Build the Wall. Tall weeds had been removed, grass scraped and the riverbank was being re-sloped to how it had been when the wall was first built earlier this year. Hydroseeding also was being applied to the ground, according to reports.
Fisher self-financed much of the $44 million private border wall, which he has actively been trying to sell to the federal government. He also says there are dozens of private landowners who are amenable to building a similar structure on their properties along the Rio Grande in South Texas.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com.