Viewing “ecological disintegration” using Google Earth

Last year we showed you the story of how California’s Department of Fish and Game was using Google Earth to track down marijuana fields to help avoid problems with local rivers.  Kevin Franck at Earth’s Internet has a similar story.  In a recent post, he digs through various ways he’s used Google Earth to track the progression of his local landscape in fairly depressing ways.

His post covers a handful of areas and examples, such as this one:

The very first time I drove to this exact spot in the early 1970s was when I got my Drivers License as a young teen and there were massive riparian forests here, mostly majestic old growth Cottonwoods and Willows everywhere. The creek was full and had a heavy meandering flow, even deep in many spots. There were also fish here, large ones too, which darted when you walked past the stream’s edge, although I cannot now identify them. But also mostly those small Top Minnow mosquito fish. I know I can’t get anyone to believe me about this, but never the less that is what I experienced. At best all I can do now is tell you a story. If I could have foreseen the future and what was to become of this place, maybe I would have taken actual photographs to back up the story. … It’s incredible, while it does take thousands of years for a health productive ecosystem to develop on a macro level, it only takes 150 years to screw it up under the excuse of enlightenment and manifest destiny. Pathetic when you ponder it really!


For more examples, as well as details on some of the techniques that he uses in Google Earth, check out his full post.

Nice work, Kevin!

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.


  1. Thanks Mickey, I only found this by chance. I think Google Earth is a great research tool, not only to reveal the negatives, but to be used on present and ongoing habitat restoration projects. Well let’s hope so anyway.

    One question, on the actual road view, will there be a feature for historic image such my pic on the San Felipe Creek Bridge ? Maybe there is and I’ve missed it.

    Thanks again , Kevin

    • Mickey Mellen says:

      Kevin — We hope they’ll offer something like that in the future, and it seems likely that they will, but there’s no way to know for sure and certainly no timeline on it.

      • Thanks

        It would indeed be great, but then it would take a budget put together for all the fleet of vehicles driven by a a large company of employees to make things work. I wonder if people also actually appreciate the hard work of the software and others who put these sites together for us.

        Thanks again

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