The South Bay region was historically largely a “Coastal Prairie” ecosystem. From the Cal Poly Pomona 606 Graduate Studio report, “Coastal prairie is characterized by having very wet winters and very dry summers (Native Again Landscape n.d). Proximity next to the ocean makes the soil higher in salinity which in turn makes the soil “cake” in hot summers (Native Again Landscape n.d). Plants within this community need to be able to survive wet winters and dry summers…” The figure (also from the Cal Poly Pomona report) below illustrates the extent of the Coastal Prairie ecosystem.
Note the Salt Lake in the first figure. Historic Landmark Number 373 located on Harbor Blvd in front of the AES power plant in Redondo Beach is all that’s left of the lake today. The Chowigna (a branch of the Tongva) and later settlers, harvested salt from this lake. Thelma Muzik, however, was able to recreate what the site may have looked like before the Spanish began settling in California. Thelma spent six months researching southland wetlands and historic archives to formulate this vision. Items such as t-shirts and caps with Thelma’s Salt Lake painting can be purchased at CafePress.