Environmental concerns arise over proposal to control Carrizo cane on border

If bill enacted into law, herbicide would be used to control Carrizo cane

By Bill Barajas - Reporter

MISSION, Texas - The National Butterfly Center is a 100-acre preserve that runs along the Rio Grande River and is home to an array of species.

The center is also where you'll find Carrizo cane. It looks like tall grass, but it's actually a weed that is thick and is oftentimes used by undocumented immigrants to hide and avoid U.S. Border Patrol agents.

State senators are now proposing a bill known Senate Bill 1205 to get rid of the Carrizo cane with a herbicide called Imazapyr.

"It's a bill that’s going to allot $10 million for the aerial spraying of a herbicide along the banks of the Rio Grande River to control Carrizo cane," said Luciano Guerra, with the National Butterfly Center.

Guerra worries the herbicide might have an effect on bees, birds, fish, plants and even the property itself.

"The roots are holding a lot of this very sandy soil that we have here on the banks of the Rio Grande River, holding it together and preventing it from being eroded," Guerra said.

The bill was introduced by Republican state Sen. Donna Campbell. It passed the Senate, but it must now go through the House.

"Hopefully, we will get partnership with the federal government to help us pay for it and, then the state would step up and match that," Campbell said.

Officials with the National Butterfly Center has reached out to their attorneys and are searching for ways to fight the bill.

KSAT contacted the Environmental Protection Agency for information on Imazapyr and the affects it might have, but we have heard back from the agency.

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