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Construction Company Destroys Part of Fragile Local Wetlands

Photo via Los Cerritos Wetlands Trust
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It appears to be a misunderstanding, but on Friday a construction company began clearing a field of fragile ecohabitat in the Los Cerritos Wetlands, which is the largest salt marsh in Los Angeles County. "I sure didn't wake up today planning to spend 8 hours near the corner of Loynes and Studebaker watching tractors and earth movers scrape bare a fragile and important part of the Los Cerritos Wetlands," wrote Executive Director Elizabeth Lambe of Los Cerritos Wetlands Trust on their website. Eventually, she got the city of Long Beach to issue a stop-work order. "It was outrageous behavior, and it was illegal," Lambe wrote.

But Lambe's tune changed on Saturday after posted a conversation with the land's new owner, Sean Hitchcock. "When I purchased it, one of the things [former owner] Tom Dean told me is that he had a fire department notice to clear and weed the site for hazard," he told the website. "Basically, that’s all I was doing was just clearing the site of the weeds... I’m trying to make it open park space. In the meantime for right now, I’m just trying to manage the site better." Hitchcock also said the city knew his intent.

As for Lambe, she looks forward to working with Hitchcock on protecting the wetlands. "This would include protecting and restoring adjacent land like his, since it is integral to the health and well being of the entire ecosystem," she wrote in an updated post on her website.