Compromise a Must to Protect Seal Hangout

    Although it’s true that La Jolla’s Casa Beach — better known
    as Children’s Pool — may have started out as a place for swimmers, for the past
    decade a colony of harbor seals has used its protected waters as a safe haven,
    attracting thousands of visitors every year who want to catch a glimpse of the
    southernmost seal rookery in the United States.

    But a recent ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeals
    could jeopardize the beach’s status as a home for the seals. The court ignored
    a public opinion poll in which eight out of 10 San Diegans supported preserving
    the rookery, then ordered that the beach be dredged and the seals removed in
    order to comply with the site’s original designation as a public park and beach
    exclusively for children.

    Proponents of restoring the site to a children’s beach have
    called the decision a long-awaited victory, saying the seals contaminate the
    water. Conservationists, on the other hand, have decried the ruling as a swan
    song for the only mainland seal rookery between Baja
    and Santa

    However, the ruling isn’t just bad news for seal lovers; it
    also affects local residents, as noted by UCSD professor emeritus and coastal
    oceanography and sedimentation specialist Douglas L. Inman, who said the
    decision to dredge the beach would have an undeniable impact on the rate of
    cliff erosion in the surrounding areas.

    The San Diego City Council has offered a compromise that’s
    in the best interests of both conservationists and residents: allowing beach
    access during summer but roping off the area from December to May to
    accommodate the seals’ birthing and pupping season.

    With this solution, no dredging is required, sparing both
    the seals and the local cliffs while also offering children a safe place to
    swim during the warmer months.

    San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre said he intends to
    appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court — the court must take this
    compromise into consideration.

    Otherwise, it will be a sad and unnecessary ending to a
    treasured chapter of local history.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    Our Goal