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Continental Divide

Wildlife, People, and the Border Wall

Krista Schlyer; Foreword by Jamie Rappaport Clark

Publication Year: 2012

The topic of the border wall between the United States and Mexico continues to be broadly and hotly debated: on national news media, by local and state governments, and even in coffee shops and over the dinner table. By now, broad segments of the population have heard widely varying opinions about the wall’s effect on illegal immigration, international politics, and the drug war. ?But what about the wall’s effect on the Sonoran pronghorn antelope herds and the kit fox? On the Mexican gray wolf, the ocelot, the jaguar, and the bighorn sheep??In unforgettable images and evocative text, Continental Divide: Wildlife, People, and the Border Wall helps readers understand all that is at stake. ?As Krista Schlyer explains,  the remoteness of this region from most US citizens’ lives, coupled with the news media’s focus on illegal immigration and drug violence, has left many with an incomplete picture. As she reminds us, this largely isolated natural area, stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, hosts a number of rare ecosystems: Arizona’s last free-flowing river, the San Pedro; the grasslands of New Mexico, some of the last undeveloped prairies on the continent; the single most diverse birding area in the US, located along the lower Rio Grande River in Texas; and habitat and migration corridors for some of both nations’ most imperiled species.?In documenting the changes to the ecosystems and human communities along the border while the wall was being built, Schlyer realized that the impacts of immigration policy on wildlife, on landowners, and on border towns were not fully understood by either policy makers or the general public. The wall not only has disrupted the ancestral routes of wildlife; it has also rerouted human traffic through the most pristine and sensitive of wildlands, causing additional destruction, conflict, and death—without solving the original problem.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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p. vii

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pp. ix-xi

There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. In Continental Divide: Wildlife, People, and the Border Wall, Krista Schlyer goes far beyond the power of pictures to share an eye-opening exposé of the unfortunate and unacceptable treatment...


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p. xiii

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pp. 2-9

In early spring 2008, two young bison bulls jumped a sagging three-string barbed wire fence separating Chihuahua, Mexico, from New Mexico in the United States. On both sides of the international line lay an unbroken grassland valley scoured...

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pp. 10-67

At scorching noon the summer desert smells of choking dust. The July sun boils on bare skin, making it scream for shade, and everything, from cactus to reptile to human creature, shrinks under its searing stare. Nothing moves under the burdensome...

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pp. 68-102

Early morning in late April, a coyote croons a few half-hearted yelps from the depths of a grassland dream, while under the chilled veil of darkness the Chihuahuan Desert slumbers. Or so it would seem. Like so much of the borderlands...

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Rio Grande

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pp. 103-133

In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, late summer dew glistens on the quivering threads of a spider web draped upon the bough of a honey mesquite. On a nearby branch, a malachite butterfly dries the morning mist off its pale green wings while...

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The Wall

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pp. 134-169

In the Pinacate Biosphere reserve in northern Sonora, Mexico, a bighorn ram heads north. Water sources in the western Sonoran Desert are few, especially in the summer, but water persists in rare locations, including the one he’s headed to a half-mile north...

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People of the Borderlands

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pp. 170-238

Noel Benavides walks a trail through a brushy forest of mesquite and ebony on a steamy September day in South Texas. An entourage of dragonflies colors the low brush where he passes. Where the trail ends, a clearing in the forest reveals the Rio Grande ambling...

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Shining City on a Hill

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pp. 239-277

In his farewell address to the nation in 1989, President Ronald Reagan mused, as he had many times before in his political life, about a shining city on a hill. He spoke of the United States as a “tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than...

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Appalachian Rain

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pp. 278-286

A little more than 150 years ago, having won the Mexican-American War, the United States sent a team of surveyors to San Diego to meet their Mexican counterparts and go about setting the newly adjusted boundary lines for the two nations. Rather than travel by...

Selected Works Referenced

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pp. 287-288


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pp. 289-292

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781603447577
E-ISBN-10: 1603447571
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603447430
Print-ISBN-10: 1603447431

Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 173 color photos. Map. Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 821725691
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Continental Divide

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Subject Headings

  • Ecology -- Mexican-American Border Region -- Pictorial works.
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