Justin L. Stewart

Justin L. Stewart

teamlosangeles-zentz

America’s Footprint

Words & Images © Justin L. Stewart.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers has long been involved with coastal development in the form of building marinas, creating breakwaters and more. They were the government agency tasked with handling the construction of dams throughout the United States and channeling rivers as they worked to create forms of hydroelectric power and protect cities from the damage of flooding rivers.

This series of images looks at the reasons some of these projects were implemented and the environmental damage they caused as they disrupted and erased ecosystems to better service the commercial needs of a growing city in a time before the environmental costs were a topic of discussion or understood.

These images are not meant to condemn or shame the USACE. While the USACE has been used in the past to implement some environmentally damaging projects, the USACE now conducts thorough environmental reports while surveying proposed projects and is working to modify or remove previous projects to help restore damaged ecosystems.

These images are meant to create a discussion around the growing consciousness surrounding the importance of natural ecosystems and the need for environmentally friendly construction practices.

A 2.2 mile breakwater was constructed in the East San Pedro Bay in 1949, following 9 years of construction and delays, joining two other breakwaters for approximately 8 miles of breakwaters that help form Long Beach harbor, one of the United States hubs for trade and shipping. Long Beach has commissioned studies about the removal of one or more of the breakwaters, convincing the USACE to conduct their own study in efforts to restore the various aspects of the ecosystem damaged by a lack of replenishing waves and pollution passed down through the Los Angeles River that empties there and ships constant presence.
A 2.2 mile breakwater was constructed in the East San Pedro Bay in 1949, following 9 years of construction and delays, joining two other breakwaters for approximately 8 miles of breakwaters that help form Long Beach harbor, one of the United States hubs for trade and shipping. Long Beach has commissioned studies about the removal of one or more of the breakwaters, convincing the USACE to conduct their own study in efforts to restore the various aspects of the ecosystem damaged by a lack of replenishing waves and pollution passed down through the Los Angeles River that empties there and ships constant presence.
Marina Del Rey Harbor, the United States largest man-made marina, was built in 1965 after half a century of interest and efforts. The construction of the marina greatly damaged the Ballona Creek Wetlands, the last intact coastal saltmarsh in Los Angeles County, which had previously been damaged by the channelization of Ballona Creek, according to the Ballona Wetlands Program and a report by the Environmental Protection Agency. The marina removed approximately 2/3 of the wetlands that were present post WWII. There are environmental pushes to help restore the wetlands ecosystem in various ways, but nothing has made it past discussion yet.
Marina Del Rey Harbor, the United States largest man-made marina, was built in 1965 after half a century of interest and efforts. The construction of the marina greatly damaged the Ballona Creek Wetlands, the last intact coastal saltmarsh in Los Angeles County, which had previously been damaged by the channelization of Ballona Creek, according to the Ballona Wetlands Program and a report by the Environmental Protection Agency. The marina removed approximately 2/3 of the wetlands that were present post WWII. There are environmental pushes to help restore the wetlands ecosystem in various ways, but nothing has made it past discussion yet.
Fifty-one miles of the Los Angeles River was channelized between 1938 and 1960, following devastating floods in 1914 and in the 1930's that caused millions of dollars in damages to the city. The cementing of the river destroyed miles of ecosystem and natural plant and animal habitat. The USACE has been working with Los Angeles with plans to help restore an 11-mile stretch of the river, removing the cement bottom and rebuilding some of the natural habitat, connecting it to historic floodplains and helping the river regain some of its natural cleansing processes.
Fifty-one miles of the Los Angeles River was channelized between 1938 and 1960, following devastating floods in 1914 and in the 1930’s that caused millions of dollars in damages to the city. The cementing of the river destroyed miles of ecosystem and natural plant and animal habitat. The USACE has been working with Los Angeles with plans to help restore an 11-mile stretch of the river, removing the cement bottom and rebuilding some of the natural habitat, connecting it to historic floodplains and helping the river regain some of its natural cleansing processes.

You can see more images by Justin on his website.

YPA 2016 MENTORING PROGRAM: AMERICAN LANDSCAPES

TEAM LOS ANGELES
MENTOR: David Zentz
MENTEE: Justin L. Stewart