U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin constructing the first segment of President Trump’s border wall in November through a national wildlife refuge, using money it’s already received from Congress.

Mose Buchele / KUT

The legacy of Austin’s polluting past still lives in its soil. Parcels of land, especially on the city’s East Side, carry contamination from businesses and industries that long ago closed up shop. For the last several years, the city has had federal help cleaning up some of the land for new uses.

But now that funding is under threat. The program that provides the grants would be slashed by 30 percent under the Trump administration's proposed budget.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Courtesy of Christine Hawkes

Christine Hawkes says her work isn’t all that glamorous.

“Sometimes when people ask me what my job is, I say 'digging holes,'” she says. "You know? It’s a lot of what I do is just digging up soil.”

The City of Austin was selected to receive two grants totaling $300,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help clean up brownfields, unused land that may be contaminated with hazardous chemicals.