Mass Destruction of Ecosystems to Accommodate the Automobile

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Mass Destruction of Ecosystems to Accommodate the Automobile

Mitigation, to the dismay of some, has become publicly synonymous with notions of preservation and conservation. Mitigation is neither the ‘preservation’ nor is it the ‘conservation’ of habitat. Mitigation is the creation of new habitat, or the guarding of an existing habitat to "make up" for the destruction of similar habitat somewhere else. It was the infamous environmental buzz word of the nineties, notorious for its criticism and praise by developers. Criticism because mitigation delays and obstructs their progress, and praise by those who take advantage of loopholes within the guidelines. All the while ecologists are accepting the mitigations like ill tasting medicine
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Feats that would have been technologically impossible even 50 years ago are now common, such as the BART crossing under the San Francisco Bay or the extensive bridge systems in the Florida Everglades.

The technology exists, albeit at what is sometimes great cost. The proportions necessary to create a tunnel or bridge to accommodate the traffic flow from south Orange county north into Los Angeles would be fantastic, but possible. But bridge and tunnel systems do offer some alternatives to the mitigation practices of today. Not entirely eliminating the need to mitigate for the effects of the transportation systems, but hopefully allowing the system to pass through the habitat not completely inhibiting the integrity or the function of the ecosystem.


Bridges introduce many interesting options for elevating a roadway above sensitive habitat. Bridges seemingly are best adapted for sensitive aquatic habitats. For example, in place of filling a wetland in order to construct a road through it, a cable stayed bridge would seemingly accomplish the same job eliminating the need for the filling of the wetland and providing an alternative with less environmental impacts. This is by no means suggesting that the bridge would have no environmental impact, only that the impact would be less