04.02.21: Hawk Roads 2 Comments / Uncategorized / By Alison The road from Brownsville to Boca Chica travels through coastal prairie and tidal flats towards the mouth of the Rio; the edge of a continent; the border between two countries. The road is a Hawk Road. Utility poles and fenceposts and the yucca species Spanish dagger are dressed in Harris’s and White-tailed Hawks; Crested Caracaras; an occasional Aplomado Falcon. When I drove out two days ago, I was looking forward to counting all these, but the most ostentatious number came from the amount of vehicles leaving SpaceX: 438. Yes, it was shift change, but it’s only within the last couple years that shift change has intruded the rhythm of Boca Chica. I had good luck–Elon Musk exploded his 3rd rocket this year just a couple days prior to my foray. Timely, for someone writing about U.S. bird conservation in 2021. I had bad luck–the road past Boca Chica Village, which Musk is buying out and denaturing into a place called Starbase was closed, because they were still cleaning up the aftermath. I had good luck again, in the opportunity to talk with people who do biological monitoring at Boca Chica and have concerns about: not being able to access their sites for regular monitoring due to SpaceX closures (which grossly violate Texas’s Open Beach Act); rocket part cleanups, which happen on the adjacent Lower RGV NWR and damage fragile, critical habitat; the ways Musk is going about making this place–which several endangered species depend on, but most people view as vacant space–his own empire. The Boca Chica Road is a hawk road, and driving back, I felt I was the prey. I was driving my little pickup 65mph on this two-lane road that’s badly deteriorating under the new influx of traffic. Huge pickups (you know, Texas-style), released for the day from their holding pens blasted around me even as we reached the slowdown at the Border Patrol checkpoint. I wish there was a baseline roadkill survey here…
2 thoughts on “04.02.21: Hawk Roads”
hopefully there will be some resistance to what Musk is doing here and also from what I have heard of in Florida.
Yeah, Musk’s actions are nefarious once you look into the collateral…but on the surface they’re presented to the public as a very positive happening. Hard to dispel that narrative.